The back and forth of arbitration rulings that dominate the topic of conversation in class actions could make one seasick. Or at least sick and tired. The latest contribution to the discussion comes to us compliments of Goodridge v. KDF Automotive Group, Inc. (Ord. pub. Sept. 19, 2012), in which the Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District, Division One) affirmed a trial court order denying a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court concluded that the provision was unconscionable, and thus unenforceable.
There two points of interest here. First, the Court engaged in a straightforward unconscionability analysis, agreeing with the trial court that the agreement was designed to force car buyers into an inferior forum. Evidently unconscionability analysis is not as dead as defendant now argue after Concepcion.
Second, the Court noted that "the circumstances (e.g., preprinted contract and arbitration clause) and issues in this case are virtually identical to those in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 74, review granted Mar. 21, 2012, S199119 (Sanchez)." As the Court observed, the issues it addressed will likely be decided by the California Supreme Court.