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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vasquez v. Greene Motors: Court Reverses Denial of Motion to Compel Arbitration In Auto Sale Action

Vasquez v. Greene Motors, Inc. (3/27/13) --- Cal.App.4th ---, is another case involving a standard arbitration agreement contained in many automobile sales contracts. This is the same arbitration agreement that is at issue in two other cases currently pending in the California Supreme Court: 
Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co. LLC (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 74 (discussed here) rev. granted 3/21/12 (Case No. S199119) (discussed here); and 
Goodridge v. KDF Automotive Group, Inc. (2012) --- Cal.App.4th --- (discussed here), rev. granted 12/19/12 and briefing deferred pending Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Company (discussed here). 
The question before the Court in Sanchez is as follows: 
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?
In Sanchez and Goodridge, the Courts found the arbitration agreement unconscionable and unenforceable. In Vasquez, the Court came to the opposite conclusion and reversed the trial court's decision to deny a motion to compel arbitration. The Court found a minimal level of procedural unconscionability and an "absence of significant substantive unconscionability."  

The Vasquez opinion is available here.  

I am not going to say more about Vasquez because the plaintiff has filed her petition for review (Case No. S210439), and the California Supreme Court likely will grant review and hold pending its decision in Sanchez. Of course, if it denies review... 

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