Law Firm’s Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable According To Texas Appellate Court

The Texas Court of Appeals has rejected a law firm’s motion to compel arbitration of a client’s claims against it, finding the arbitration agreement to be procedurally unconscionable. As summarized by the court:

“In this case, … the entire atmosphere in which the agreement was made, provides some evidence to support an implied finding that the arbitration provision was procedurally unconscionable.
“[Plaintiff] Herman testified in his affidavits that the meeting with appellant’s employee
was less than ten minutes. Herman made a brief statement to the employee explaining the accident, and the employee told Herman to sign a document. Herman asked the employee if the document was a contract, and the employee answered, ‘No, we are just gathering information,’ that the Daspit firm would review the facts, and that a lawyer would call him. The employee was ‘very impatient’ and told Herman ‘he could not stay to explain things.’ Herman also testified that when he signed the document, he ‘did not understand . . . that it
contained an arbitration clause.’ Herman argues appellant’s employee did not permit Herman to read the arbitration provision before signing the document.”

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