Bill That Would Weaken Arbitration Agreements being Heard in Assembly Judiciary Committee

A bill that would weaken that enforcement of arbitration agreements is being heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, June 21st.

Senate Bill 1065 (Monning, D-Monterey) would weaken the enforcement of arbitration agreements by prohibiting an appeal when a claim is filed pursuant to the Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) and the lower court refuses to enforce an arbitration agreement clause. For example, if an individual takes an elder abuse claim to court (rather than directly to arbitration as previously agreed to), the court will generally rule that the dispute would be referred to arbitration (subject to certain exemptions). If the court denies the motion to compel arbitration, an automatic appeal is currently granted under statute.

SB 1065 would eliminate that automatic appeal for elder abuse claims forcing the issue to trial, which is the scenario that arbitration was established to avoid. The sponsors of the bill, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) and the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) claim that the bill will provide the elder with higher preference for hearing. However, current rules (Court Rule 8.240) already provide for consideration of these special considerations (age and health) for expedited calendaring of appeals.

LeadingAge California is working with a broad coalition of provider and business groups to oppose SB 1065, and have provided amendments to the author that we feel will accomplish their goal of speeding up the appellate process without eliminating a health provider’s right to appeal under the state and federal arbitration acts.