(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
Here, Article 2 of Defendant Black’s arbitration agreement begins in bold type stating: “All Claims Must Be Arbitrated.” This long clause goes on to state that “… this agreement shall cover all claims or controversies whether in tort, contract, or otherwise ….”
On the other hand, the brief second clause of Article 2 states that: “Filing by physician of any action in court to collect any fee from patient shall not waive the right to compel arbitration of any malpractice claim. However, following the assertion of any claim against physician, any fee dispute, whether or not the subject of any existing court action, shall be resolved by arbitration.” For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
This arbitration agreement requires Ms. Hall to waive her constitutional right to a jury trial and arbitrate all her claims, even if she has a fee dispute with the physician, while on the other hand, Defendant Black is not obligated to waive his right to a jury trial for the only claim he would have against Ms. Hall, a fee dispute.
A one-sided term such as this is unconscionable because … the doctrine of unconscionability limits the extent to which the stronger party, may, through a contract of adhesion, impose the arbitration forum on the weaker party without accepting the forum for itself. Armendariz, supra, 24 Cal. 4th 118.
The Court goes on to say that without a reasonable justification for lack of mutuality, arbitration is more a means of maximizing advantage for the stronger party than providing a forum for neutral dispute resolution. Armendariz supra, 24 Cal. 4th 118. There is no reasonable justification given in Defendant Black’S agreement for the unilateral arbitration provision, therefore this agreement is substantively unconscionable on this basis. (See Part 8 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.