Dan Ryan Builders, Inc. v. Nelson (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
The United States court of appeals certified a question to the West Virginia Supreme Court that concerned two areas of state law: the law of contract formation and the doctrine of unconscionability. The question from the court of appeals arose from a contract that contained an arbitration provision requiring one party to the contract to arbitrate all of their claims but allowed the other party to file a lawsuit for some of its claims. A federal district court previously determined that the arbitration provision was not enforceable because it lacked mutuality of obligation and mutuality of consideration. The Supreme Court concluded (1) West Virginia's law of contract formation only required that a contract as a whole be supported by adequate consideration, and hence, a single clause within a multi-clause contract does not require separate consideration when the contract as a whole is supported by adequate consideration; but (2) under the doctrine of unconscionability, a trial court may decline to enforce a contract clause, such as an arbitration provision, if the obligations or rights created by the clause unfairly lack mutuality.