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Hanson v. Valley View Nursing & Rehab. Ctr., 2006 Ohio 3815 (Ohio Ct. App. 2006)

Trial court granted motion to stay pending arbitration. Affirmed on appeal. On appeal Plaintiff argued that the agreement was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. Reviewing the facts, the court observed that “[a]n unconscionable contract clause is one in which there is an absence of meaningful choice for the contracting parties, coupled with draconian contract terms unreasonably favorable to the other party.” Procedural unconscionability concerns the formation of the agreement and occurs when there is no voluntary meeting of the minds. Substantive unconscionability goes to the contract terms themselves. Regarding procedural unconscionability, plaintiff argued it was a form contract, the resident had no authority to change its terms, he was not represented by counsel, and he did not realize he was waiving his right to a jury. The court rejected these arguments finding that the agreement was not a condition of admission so he could have rejected the entire agreement. There is no requirement in Ohio that an attorney be present when a contract is signed. Regarding notice, the agreement includes a warning that jury rights are waived in bold, capital letters. Finding that the agreement was not procedurally unconscionable, the trial court was affirmed.

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