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Employment Contract and Unconscionability

The Fourth District reversed. Although it acknowledged that doubt as to the scope of an agreement to arbitrate should be resolved in favor of arbitration, the court determined that “the issue, here, is not one of scope, but of formation–who may be bound by an agreement to arbitrate.”… The court held:
Although we recognize that it is impractical for a parent to obtain a court order before entering into pre-injury contracts, we cannot accept the notion that parents may, carte blanche,
66 Law Masters Series
waive the litigation rights of their children in the absence of circumstances supported by public policy. Circumstances in which a waiver would be supported by a recognized public policy include waivers in cases of obtaining medical care or insurance or for participation in commonplace child oriented community or school supported activities. We need not decide, here, what additional circumstances might support such a waiver; it is sufficient to state that commercial travel opportunities are not in that category.
…The Fourth District concluded that because the arbitration agreement was unenforceable as to the child on public policy grounds, the child’s estate could not be bound to arbitrate tort claims arising from the safari….
The issue in this case is the enforceability of an agreement by a parent on behalf of a minor child to arbitrate claims arising out of a commercial travel contract….

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