Can't Compel Arbitration if You Deny the Contract's Existence
Check out California appellate attorney Greg May's post today -- A Dilemma for Some Defendants Who Seek to Arbitrate here. Excerpt below.
It’s a long-held rule in California that a defendant sued on a contract may recover attorney fees pursuant to a provision in the contract even if the defendant prevails on a theory that he was not a party to the contract or that the contract is nonexistent, inapplicable, invalid or unenforceable. The rule exists in order to further the purpose of Civil Code section 1717, which is to make unilateral fee provisions reciprocal. . . . .
Consider now whether a similar rule should apply to arbitration provisions. . . . . Should a defendant be able to compel arbitration pursuant to a contractual arbitration provision in a contract alleged by plaintiff even if the defendant denies the existence of that contract?
The court of appeal says “no” in Brodke v. Alphatec Spine Inc., case no G038591 (4th Dist. Mar. 20, 2008). .......................
For the full post, click here.