Compel arbitration in California

Filing a petition to compel arbitration in California is the topic of this blog post.

Many agreements and contracts now include an arbitration provision providing that all disputes, or in some cases certain disputes, shall be sent to arbitration.

The primary purpose of arbitration is to provide a speedy and relatively inexpensive means of dispute resolution. Arbitration has grown in popularity over the last ten to twenty years as a useful alternative to the overburdened California court system.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 1281.2 states in pertinent part that: “On petition of a party to an arbitration agreement alleging the existence of a written agreement to arbitrate a controversy, and that a party thereto refuses to arbitrate the controversy, the court shall order the parties to so arbitrate if it determines that such an agreement exists.”

Thus the statutes in California provide a procedure by which a party who wishes to submit a dispute to arbitration can petition the court to compel the other party to arbitrate the dispute, provided that a valid agreement exists with a provision that certain disputes, or in some cases all disputes, shall be arbitrated. The statutes regarding arbitration state that the party seeking to compel arbitration has the burden of proving that a written agreement to arbitrate exists.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 1281.2 states in pertinent part that, “When a petition to compel arbitration is filed and accompanied by prima facie evidence of a written agreement to arbitrate the controversy, the court itself must decide whether the agreement exists, and if any defense to its enforcement is raised, whether the agreement is enforceable. Because existence of the agreement is a statutory prerequisite to granting the petition, the petitioner bears the burden of proving its existence by a preponderance of the evidence.”

The case law in California is clear that there is a strong public policy in favor of arbitration, and that any doubts as to the scope of an agreement to arbitrate are to be resolved in favor of arbitration. However, a party can be compelled to arbitrate only those issues it has agreed to arbitrate, and the arbitration process established must be fair to both parties.

The California Supreme Court has stated that it is well established that under California law there is a strong public policy in favor of arbitration. See Engalla v. Permanente Medical Group, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 951, 971-972

And a California Court of Appeal has also stated that any doubts as to the scope of an agreement to arbitrate are to be resolved in favor of arbitration. See Hayes Children Leasing Co. v. NCR Corp. (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 775, 788.

Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample petition to compel arbitration with a memorandum of points and authorities with full citations to case and statutory authority and a sample declaration that is sold by the author can see below.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. Visit the author’s website at: http://www.legaldocspro.net

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Copyright 2012 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

About Stan Burman

Freelance paralegal working in California and Federal litigation since 1995.
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