Alert the Media! Arbitration Agreement Enforced

As stated by the Court of Appeal,

The arbitration provision, contained in a separate paragraph initialed by Roman, provided, "I hereby agree to submit to binding arbitration all disputes and claims arising out of the submission of this application. I further agree, in the event that I am hired by the company, that all disputes that cannot be resolved by informal internal resolution[1] which might arise out of my employment with the company, whether during or after that employment, will be submitted to binding arbitration. I agree that such arbitration shall be conducted under the rules of the American Arbitration Association. This application contains the entire agreement between the parties with regard to dispute resolution, and there are no other agreements as to dispute resolution, either oral or written."
So, the first thing that jumps to mind is that a court would say it wasn't "mutual," in that it does not say that the Company will submit all disputes to arbitration. Forgive me my cynicism, but the courts seem to find any way possible to deny enforcement of these puppies.

Not this time. The court determined that there was no one-sidedness and that both parties would have to arbitrate all claims. The court had an interesting discussion of canons of construction of contracts contained in the Civil Code supporting enforceability.

The plaintiff also argued that the employer's propounding some paper discovery and even filing a motion to compel the plaintiff's deposition was a waiver. But no:

Although Roman incurred litigation expenses in serving and filing objections to
discovery requests and opposing the demurrer and motion to compel her deposition, those expenses are insufficient, by themselves, to support a finding of waiver: "[W]aiver does not occur by mere participation in litigation"‟ if there has been no judicial litigation of the merits of arbitrable issues" and no prejudice. (Saint Agnes, supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 1203.) "Because merely participating in litigation, by itself, does not result in a waiver, courts will not find prejudice where the party opposing arbitration shows only that it incurred court costs and legal expenses." (Ibid.; see also Groom v. Health Net (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 1189, 1197 [expense of responding to motions or other preliminary pleadings is not type of prejudice that bars later petition to compel arbitration].) The trial court did not err in impliedly rejecting Roman‟s waiver argument.

So, there you have it, an enforceable arbitration agreement. Take a picture. The case is Roman v. Superior Court (Flo-Kem), and the opinion is here.