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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
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The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's order staying the case pending arbitration of the Plaintiffs' claims. The Court found that the arbitration agreement's prohibition on class action arbitration was permitted under the Supreme Court's ruling in AT&T v. Concepcion. Further, the Court found that the arbitration agreement was neither substantively nor procedurally unconscionable. The Court found that the agreement contained sufficient information regarding the arbitration process so that the Plaintiffs were made aware of the terms to which they were agreeing and that, since Ganley was undertaking to pay the fees associated with the arbitration process, there were no undisclosed fees. The fact that the parties were in unequal bargaining positions was not, by itself, sufficient to find that the arbitration agreement was procedurally unconscionable. The arbitration agreement was clearly laid out to the consumers; it was printed in red ink on the first page of the contract and certain terms were in all capitals. The Court found that Ganley had no duty to point out or explain the arbitration agreement. Finally, the Court found that the arbitration agreement applied to Plaintiffs' claims, even though they were related to representations that were made prior to entering into the contract. The Court found that Plaintiffs' allegations arose from the formation of the purchase agreement and, as such, were covered under the arbitration agreement.
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| © 2009 Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray