A proceeding to compel arbitration is in essence a suit in equity to compel specific performance of a contract. (Freeman v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. (1975) 14 Cal.3d 473, 479.) Arbitration agreements are analyzed under ordinary state law contract principles. (First Options of Chi, Inc. v. Kaplan (1995) 514 U.S. 938, 944, 115 S. Ct. 1920, 1924.) Such enforcement may be sought by a party to the arbitration agreement. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1280(e)(1).)
Under both the Federal Arbitration Act and California law, arbitration agreements are valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, except on such grounds that exist at law or equity for voiding a contract. (Winter v. Window Fashions Professions, Inc. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 943, 947.) “[T]he party moving to compel arbitration bears the burden of establishing the existence of a valid agreement to arbitrate, and the party opposing arbitration bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence any fact necessary to its defense. The role of the trial court is to sit as a trier of fact, weighing any affidavits, declarations, and other documentary evidence, together with oral testimony received at the court's discretion, to reach a determination on the issue of arbitrability.” (Hotels Nevada v. L.A. Pacific Center, Inc. (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 754, 758.)
A party seeking to enforce an arbitration agreement must properly authenticate the agreement before it may be received into evidence where the party opposing arbitration contests the authenticity of the arbitration agreement. (Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc. (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 836, 843, 846.) “A petition to compel arbitration or to stay proceedings pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 1281.2 and 1281.4 must state, in addition to other required allegations, the provisions of the written agreement and the paragraph that provides for arbitration. The provisions must be stated verbatim, or a copy must be physically or electronically attached to the petition and incorporated by reference.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1330.) The party moving to compel arbitration must prove by a preponderance of evidence the existence of the arbitration agreement and that the dispute is covered by the agreement. (Cruise v. Kroger Co. (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 390, 396-397, 399-400.)
In deciding a petition to compel arbitration, trial courts must first decide whether an enforceable arbitration agreement exists between the parties, and then determine the second gateway issue of whether the claims are covered within the scope of the agreement. (Omar v. Ralphs Grocer Co. (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 955, 961.) Arbitration is a matter of contract, and a party cannot be required to arbitrate a dispute he has not agreed to submit. (Villacreses v. Molinari (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1223, 1230.) General principles of California contract law help guide the court in making this determination. (Mendez v. Mid-Wilshire Health Care Center (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 534, 541.) “In ruling on the petition when factual matters are in dispute, the court must weigh credibility and the strength of competing evidence.” (Acquire II, Ltd. v. Colton Real Estate Group (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 959, 971.)
The Court may decline to enforce an arbitration agreement if the party opposing arbitration can establish that the agreement is unconscionable. (Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 83, 114.) For an arbitration agreement to be unenforceable as unconscionable, both procedural and substantive unconscionability must be present. Id. Procedural and substantive unconscionability need not be present to the same degree. Id. “In other words, the more substantively oppressive the contract term, the less evidence of procedural unconscionability is required to come to the conclusion that the term is unenforceable, and vice versa.” (Id.)
“[T]he core concern of unconscionability doctrine is the ‘absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms which are unreasonably favorable to the other party.’ Unconscionability doctrine ensures that contracts, particularly contracts of adhesion, do not impose terms that have been variously described as ‘overly harsh’, ‘unduly oppressive’, ‘so one-sided as to “shock the conscience”’, or ‘unfairly one-sided’. All of these formulations point to the central idea that unconscionability doctrine is concerned not with ‘a simple old-fashioned bad bargain’, but with terms that are ‘unreasonably favorable to the more powerful party’. These include ‘terms that impair the integrity of the bargaining process or otherwise contravene the public interest or public policy; terms (usually of an adhesion or boilerplate nature) that attempt to alter in an impermissible manner fundamental duties otherwise imposed by the law, fine-print terms, or provisions that seek to negate the reasonable expectations of the nondrafting party, or unreasonably and unexpectedly harsh terms having to do with price or other central aspects of the transaction’.” (Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (2013) 57 Cal.4th 1109, 1145 (citations omitted).)
Unconscionability generally includes the absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms that unreasonably favor the other party. (Carboni v. Arrospide (1991) 2 Cal.App.4th 76, 82-83.) As the party asserting unconscionability, Plaintiff has the burden of proving both procedural and substantive unconscionability. (Crippen v. Central Valley RV Outlet. Inc. (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1159, 1165.)
Courts analyze the unconscionability standard in Civil Code section 1670.5 as invoking elements of procedural and substantive unconscionability. (Id. at 1280-81.) Procedural unconscionability focuses on whether there is “oppression” arising from an inequality of bargaining power or “surprise” arising from buried terms in a complex printed form. (Id.) The substantive element addresses the existence of overly harsh or one-sided terms. (Id.) An agreement to arbitrate is unenforceable only if both the procedural and substantive elements are satisfied. (Stirlen v. Supercuts, Inc. (1997) 51 Cal.App.4th 1519, 1533.)
The court must grant the petition to compel arbitration unless it finds either: no written agreement to arbitrate exists; the right to compel arbitration has been waived; grounds exist for revocation of the agreement; or litigation is pending that may render the arbitration unnecessary or create conflicting rulings on common issues. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1281.2.)
The mere filing of a motion to compel arbitration and to stay an action does not automatically trigger a stay. (Dial v. Fesbinder (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 32, 44-45.)
The petition to compel arbitration functions as a motion and is to be heard in the manner of a motion, i.e., the facts are to be proven by affidavit or declaration and documentary evidence with oral testimony taken only in the court's discretion. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1290.2; Rosenthal v. Great Western Fin. Securities Corp. (1996) 14 Cal.4th 394, 413 414.)
Plaintiff Benjamin Hatfield (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Anita C. Bauer and Blake O. Bauer (together the “Bauer Defendants”), Airbnb, Inc., Airbnb Samara, Inc., and Airbnb Payments, Inc. (together the “Airbnb Defendants”, collectively with the Bauer Defendants “Defendants”) for personal injuries sustained when Plaintiff fell from a cement stairway onto a cement floor at or near 221 Bail...
..eement to arbitrate disputes “arising out of or related to” the use of Airbnb’s platform, which terms were agreed to by his brother, non-party John Patrick Hatfield (“Pater”): 2) Pater acted as Plaintiff’s agent by booking the accommodation through his Airbnb account and Plaintiff ratified Pater’s conduct; and 3) Plaintiff created an Airbnb account and consented to the terms and conditions contain...
Feb 22, 2019
Sonoma County, CA
SUBJECT: Motion to compel arbitration and stay pending action Moving Party: Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Resp. Party: None Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and stay pending action is GRANTED. BACKGROUND: Plaintiff, in propria persona, commenced this action on October 23, 2018, against Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance for: (1) Breach of Duty of Good...
..en her vehicle was rear-ended by an unnamed driver in a Hertz rental car who was driving at an unsafe speed while illegally using a cell phone. Plaintiff asserts that when she tried to have the defendant, her insurer, pay her medical bills pursuant to her $250,000/$500,000 uninsured motorist coverage, the defendant first indicated it would not pay the bills until she completed all treatment and la...
Mar 22, 2019
Los Angeles County, CA
Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles Department 78 MICHAEL RASHTI; Plaintiff, vs. ROXSAN PHARMACY, INC., et al.; Defendants. Case No.: BC683647 Hearing Date: March 5, 2019 [TENTATIVE] RULING RE: Defendant Parallax Health Sciences, Inc.’s Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings. Defendant Parallax Health Sciences, Inc.’s Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedi...
..(then Pharmacist-in-Charge) by Defendants Parallax Health Sciences, Inc. (“Parallax”) and Roxsan Pharmacy, Inc. (“Roxsan”). (Complaint ¶ 19.) Defendants failed to pay Rashti all wages owed, and failed to timely pay his wages upon termination. (Complaint ¶¶ 29, 35.) Additionally, Parallax has failed to honor an October 2015 stock-option agreement (and a later oral re-execution of the same agreemen...
Mar 05, 2019
Los Angeles County, CA
Defendants Roger S. Haber, Jose Manuel Reyes and Anjelah Johnson-Reyes’s Motion to Compel Arbitration is GRANTED. Existence of an Arbitration Agreement Under both the Federal Arbitration Act and California law, arbitration agreements are valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, except on such grounds that exist at law or equity for voiding a contract. (Winter v. Window Fashions Professions, Inc. (20...
..state, in addition to other required allegations, the provisions of the written agreement and the paragraph that provides for arbitration. The provisions must be stated verbatim, or a copy must be physically or electronically attached to the petition and incorporated by reference.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1330.) The moving party must also establish the other party’s refusal to arbitrate the...
Nov 09, 2016
Elaine Lu or Yolanda Orozco
Los Angeles County, CA
Rufus Tucker v. Hollywood #1, L.P., et al. MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY PROCEEDINGS MOVING PARTY: Defendants Hollywood #1, L.P., PBJB, Inc., Downtown #1 GP, Inc., Buckhead LLC, Valencia 1, L.P., Noho 1 GP, Inc., Peter Brill, and Joe Barker RESPONDING PARTY(S): Plaintiff Rufus Tucker STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS AND/OR PROCEEDINGS: Plaintiff alleges racial discrimination, harassment an...
..on and to stay proceedings is DENIED without prejudice. DISCUSSION: Motion to Compel Arbitration Evidentiary Objection Declaration of Rachel White No. 1: SUSTAINED. “Statements in a declaration on information and belief are of no evidentiary value.” Goodman v. Citizens Life & Casualty Ins. Co. (1967) 253 Cal.App.2d 807, 820. No. 2: SUSTAINED. Legal conclusion by a lay witness. No. 3: OVERRU...
Apr 15, 2019
Los Angeles County, CA
SUBJECT: Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings Moving Party: Defendants Ford Motor Company and Galpin Motors, Inc. Resp. Party: Plaintiff Juan Galindo Defendants’ motion to compel arbitration is GRANTED. Defendants’ motion to stay the proceedings is GRANTED. The Court sets an Status re Arbitration for ____________. BACKGROUND: Plaintiff Juan Galindo commenced this action on April...
..Plaintiff received an express written warranty, during the warranty period the vehicle developed or contained defects, and Plaintiff alleges Defendants breached that warranty. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-11.) On May 16, 2019, Defendants filed the instant motion to compel arbitration and motion to stay action. ANALYSIS: Defendants move for an order compelling arbitration of this case and to stay this action pe...
Jun 10, 2019
Los Angeles County, CA
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Yolo County, CA
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Santa Clara County, CA
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Santa Clara County, CA
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Culver Kapetan, Kristi
Fresno County, CA
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