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Contracts Keyed to Frier
Ferguson v. Countrywide Credit Industries, Inc.
Citation:298 F.3d 778 (9th Cir. 2002)
When Plaintiff was hired by Defendant Countrywide, she was required to sign an arbitration agreement. The agreement required arbitration for claims for breach of contract, discrimination, harassment, violations of federal or state laws, and tort claims, but the agreement exempted claims for workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, intellectual-property violations, unfair competition, and disclosure of trade secrets from the arbitration requirement. The arbitration agreement also required the employee to pay the arbitration filing fee and various other costs and to split the arbitrator’s fees with Defendant Countrywide. The agreement also limited any deposition of a Countrywide representative to four designated topics. Plaintiff later sued Defendants, for sexual harassment, retaliation, and hostile work environment. The district court denied Defendant Countrywide’s petition to compel arbitration, finding that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable and therefore unenforceable. Countrywide appealed.
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