Ramos v. Westlake ServicesAnnotate this Case
Defendant Westlake Services LLC appealed a trial court order denying its motion to compel arbitration. Alfredo Ramos, and coplaintiffs (who are not parties to this appeal) sued Defendant Westlake Services LLC for causes of actions arising out of their purchase of used automobiles. Ramos alleged that negotiations for his purchase of a car were conducted primarily in Spanish. Defendant charged Ramos money for a “guaranteed auto protection” (GAP) contract to cover the vehicle he purchased. A copy of the GAP contract was not provided to him in Spanish. In exchange for the payment of a premium by the consumer and/or purchaser of the automobile, the ‘GAP’ insurance policy contract, which identifies the respective rights and liabilities of the parties to the contract, is purportedly intended to pay the difference between the actual cash value of the financed automobile and the then-current outstanding balance on the loan for the automobile should the financed automobile be destroyed or ‘totaled’ in an accident. Ramos asserted three causes of action based on Westlake’s failure to provide a translation of the GAP contract: (1) violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA); (2) violation of section 1632; and (3) violation of the unfair competition law (UCL). Westlake moved to compel arbitration of Ramos’s and his coplaintiffs’ claims, relying on the arbitration provisions contained in the underlying sales contracts they each had signed. Upon review, the Court of Appeal concluded that Ramos reasonably relied on a Spanish translation of the English contract that Pena Motors (as Westlake’s agent) provided him that did not include the arbitration. The Court concluded that mutual assent to the arbitration agreement was lacking, void and that the trial court correctly denied Westlake’s motion to compel arbitration.