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Friday, October 12, 2012

Buzenes v. Nuvell Financial Services: Supreme Court Issues Sanchez v. Valencia Grant-and-Hold

In Buzenes v. Nuvell Financial Services (1/25/12), a car purchaser sued the seller for violation of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and other causes of action after the seller repossessed her car. In an unpublished opinion (available here) the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court's order denying a petition to compel, holding that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable, and that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not preempt unconscionability analysis of arbitration agreements. The Court found the agreement substantively unconscionable in that it gave the seller the right to pursue repossession remedies outside of arbitration.

On May 5, 2012, the California Supreme Court unanimously granted the seller's petition for review and deferred further action pending the Court's decision in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co. (discussed here). The Court granted review in Sanchez to determine the following issue: 

Does the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. section 2), as interpreted in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U. S. __, 131 S.Ct. 1740, preempt state law rules invalidating mandatory arbitration provisions in a consumer contract as procedurally and substantively unconscionable?
Buzenes is case no. S200376. The Court's case summary page is here

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