[W]here an arbitration agreement entered into as part of a consumer loan transaction contains a substantial waiver of the borrower’s rights, including access to the courts, while preserving the lender’s right to a judicial forum, the agreement is unconscionable and, therefore, void and unenforceable as a matter of law.
The Court in Arnold stated that “[a] determination of unconscionability must focus on the relative positions of the parties, the adequacy of the bargaining position, the meaningful alternatives available to the plaintiff, and ‘the existence of unfair terms in the contract.’ ” Id. at 861 (quoting Art’s Flower Shop, Inc. v. Chesapeake Potomac Tel. Co., 186 W.Va. 613, 413 S.E.2d 670 (1991)). ‘ ” Id. (footnote omitted). ” Finally, the Court found that “the terms of the agreement are ‘unreasonably favorable’ to United Lending.” Based on these reasons, the Court found the arbitration agreement to be unconscionable.
Applying this test, the Court noted that “the relative positions MT installment loans of the parties, a national corporate lender on one side and elderly, unsophisticated consumers on the other, were ‘grossly unequal
[T]his case presents a clear example of an arbitration provision that lacks mutuality of obligation, is one-sided, and contains terms that are unreasonably favorable to the drafter. Because U.S. Direct presented this agreement on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, it is also a contract in which there was not meaningful choice on the part of the weaker bargaining party regarding acceptance of the provisions? [D]isparities in the rights of the contracting parties must not be so one-sided and unreasonably favorable to the drafter, as they are in this case, that the agreement becomes unconscionable and oppressive.
Id. at 996; see also Williams v. Aetna Fin. Co., 83 Ohio St.3d 464, 700 N.E.2d 859 (1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1051, 119 S.Ct. 1357, 143 L.Ed.2d 518 (1999) (refusing to enforce an arbitration clause in a consumer loan contract which preserved for the finance company the judicial remedy of foreclosure on the debtor’s mortgage but restricted the debtor’s remedies solely to arbitration); Lytle v. CitiFinancial Servs., Inc., 810 A.2d 643 (Pa.Super.Ct.2002) (finding unenforceable an arbitration agreement that reserved access to the courts for CitiFinancial, absent “business realities” that would compel such a clause); Showmethemoney Check Cashers, Inc. v. Williams, 342 Ark. 112, 27 S.W.3d 361 (2000) (finding that the arbitration agreement lacked mutuality because it provided for a judicial forum for one party while restricting the other party to arbitration).1
W.2d 314, 320 (Tenn
The arbitration agreement in this case is comparable to those that were found to be unconscionable in the aforementioned cases. City Auto has a judicial forum for practically all claims that it could have against Taylor. Indeed, it is hard to imagine what other claims it would have against her other than one to recover the vehicle or collect a debt. At the same time, Taylor is required to arbitrate any claim that she might have against City Auto.
The contract signed between Taylor and City Auto is one of adhesion, in that it is a standardized contract form that was offered on essentially a “take it or leave it” basis without affording Taylor a realistic opportunity to bargain. See Black’s Law Dictionary 40 (6th ed.1990). We have previously determined that enforceability of contracts of adhesion generally depends upon whether the terms of the contract are beyond the reasonable expectations of an ordinary person, or oppressive or unconscionable. See Buraczynski v. Eyring, 919 S.1996). Courts will not enforce adhesion contracts which are oppressive to the weaker party or which serve to limit the obligations and liability of the stronger party. Id. Looking at the arbitration agreement in the present case, it is clear that it is unreasonably favorable to City Auto and oppressive to Taylor. For these reasons, we find the arbitration clause in the Buyers Order to be invalid and unenforceable.