Applying California law and the Federal Arbitration Act, a federal district court ruled that Senior Services of Palm Beach must arbitrate its claims against ABCSP, Inc., a franchising company, pursuant to the arbitration clause of the parties’ franchise agreement. Although Senior Services claimed the arbitration clause was unconscionable, the court held that, by incorporating the rules of the American Arbitration Association into their arbitration provision, the parties had agreed to allow the arbitrator to determine gateway issues such as arbitrability, which included unconscionability. The court went on to say that, however, that if the matter were properly before it, it would hold that the arbitration clause was not unconscionable. The provision did not meet the test for either procedural or substantive unconscionability, as there was no inequality in bargaining power or evidence of surprise, nor was the provision, including its requirement to arbitrate in California, harsh or one-sided. Thus, the court granted the prevailing party’s motion to dismiss the case and compel arbitration. , Case No. 9:12-cv-80226-JIC (USDC S.D. Fla. June 7, 2012).
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Court compels arbitration, calling unconscionability an issue for the arbitrator
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