An Opportunity To Enjoy Some Vintage Justice Bedsworth
The unconscionability issue concerning the Retail Installment Sales Contract in the next case is currently pending before the California Supreme Court In Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., 201 Cal.App.4th 74 (2011), review granted March 21, 2012 (S199119) and several related cases. In an opinion authored by Justice Bedsworth, he Fourth District, Division 3 sided with those courts finding the standard arbitration provision to be procedurally and substantively unconscionable. Castellanos v. Quality Nissan, Inc., Case No.G047885 (Dec. 2, 2013) (unpublished). It weighed somewhat on the scales that the purchaser spoke Spanish, and that the English version of the contract required an acknowledgment of the arbitration provision, whereas the Spanish version did not require an acknowledgment.
Justice Bedsworth, who authors the column A Criminal Waste of Space, is well-known for his wit and colorful writing style. The following passage from Castellanos is an example:
“Let’s not beat about the bush. Businesses put arbitration provisions in their adhesion contracts because they think that if they are sued they will fare better in arbitration than they will before a jury. Consumers and employees think so too; that is why they fight arbitration clauses. Arbitration clauses are in a contract to protect the company proffering the agreement, not the person signing it. The arbitration provision in this contract is designed to give OC Nissan every possible advantage if it is sued for some cause of action that could yield substantial damages, such as the statutory violations alleged in Castellanos’ complaint. OC Nissan is not concerned about being sued because a car’s heater does not work or a hubcap fell off.”