For years now, companies, consumers and their lawyers have been waiting to see what would happen to the law involving contractual arbitration in Sanchez v. Valencia Holdings. The California Supreme Court has been sitting on this case for years: The Court of Appeal issued its ruling in November, 2011, invalidating a commonly used retail automotive installment sales contract arbitration clause on the grounds of unconscionability. The auto dealership defendant filed a petition for hearing in January, 2012, and the Supremes granted a hearing two months later. It looked as though the case was fully briefed in November, 2012, and then the Supremes invited supplemental briefing. That was all done (including lots of amicus briefing) in March of last year.
And now, just three years and three months after the petition for review was filed, the world is going to get its first hint about what the newly constituted California Supreme Court (three of seven have been seated on the court since the court granted a hearing in this case) thinks about binding arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. The Court has set this for hearing on May 5 at 9:00 a.m. in the Supreme Court's courthouse in San Francisco.
As CBL pointed out almost a year ago here, there are about 25 cases on hold at the Supreme Court pending the decision in Sanchez. And if Cal Supremes rule for the consumer, there's a pretty good chance this case will be headed for the US Supremes, and we can see what they think.