The plaintiff showed no error in the trial court’s order compelling arbitration of her medical malpractice claim. Though the plaintiff argued that the 10-pt. type warning about arbitration which CCP 1295 requires to be placed in red ink right above the patient’s signature line was not in red, plaintiff failed to produce a color copy of the form in her appellant’s appendix, so the Court of Appeal had to presume that the defendant had produced a color copy with red ink in the trial court. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding against plaintiff on her argument that she didn’t see or read the warning and the arbitration clause. Substantial evidence supported the trial court’s finding that defendant had not waived the arbitration clause by participating in litigation for 7 months before moving to compel. He sent the plaintiff a demand for arbitration earlier and only brought the motion after the plaintiff ignored the arbitration demand. In the meanwhile, the only trial court proceedings of note were discovery which didn’t prejudice plaintiff since the arbitration agreement provided for full discovery in arbitration. The neutral arbitrator in this three-arbitrator panel delayed beyond the statutory 10-day deadline in disclosing his prior business with the new counsel that substituted in for defendant. However, the plaintiff waived the otherwise mandatory disqualification by not objecting to the late disclosure until after a decision on the merits by the arbitration panel. The trial court correctly granted reconsideration of its initial ruling improperly vacating the award. Though the trial court erred in allowing the neutral arbitrator to argue for the defendant at the reconsideration motion hearing, the error was non-prejudicial since reconsideration was properly granted based on undisputed facts regarding waiver by a delay in raising an objection to late disclosure by the arbitrator.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1 (Bendix, J.); December 17, 2018; 30 Cal. App. 5th 287