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    A former San Diego Superior Court judge who ruled against arbitration campaigner Jon Perz in his battle with a local car dealership has become an arbitrator.

    Judge Steven R. Denton sided against Perz during his six-year case against Mossy Toyota in Pacific Beach. Denton retired in June 2013 and soon after went to work for local arbitration company Judicate West.

    Perz claims that he bought a car from Mossy in 2006 that was water-damaged and had several serious defects. Because the lengthy contract he signed with the dealer contained a mandatory arbitration clause, Mossy insisted Perz argue his complaint in arbitration, rather than Superior Court.

    In the long, complicated case, which is ongoing, Perz has argued that arbitration will not give him a fair hearing.


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    Early on in the case, Denton ruled in favor of Mossy, which wanted to compel Perz to fight his suit within the arbitration system.

    Then, in 2010, Perz sought to have the arbitrator assigned to his case dismissed after his attorney learned that she had sided with companies in 40 cases and never once ruled in favor of a consumer.

    After the arbitration firm refused to dismiss the arbitrator, Perz appealed to Denton, who sided with Mossy again and said Perz must continue to battle the dealership in arbitration.

    It’s not at all uncommon for retired judges to go into the lucrative field of private justice. But Perz said he was stung by the news that the judge in his case has essentially joined the team he’s been fighting against for years.

    “I just feel like I’ve now gotten the shaft from every possible direction,” Perz said Friday. “(Denton) had every opportunity a few years ago to allow justice to be done. I’m dumbfounded.”

    Denton said his judgment in Perz’s case is completely unrelated to his later career move.  He wrote in an email:

    As a Superior Court Judge every decision that I made over 13 years represented my best effort to apply the facts to the law that applied to that particular case.  Inherent in the job of judging is that some parties will not agree with any particular legal judgment.

    I have retired from the bench after 13 years and am establishing a practice which is primarily directed towards the mediation of litigated matters to help parties settle disputes to avoid the costs and expense of litigation.  Although I am available for arbitration assignments it is my hope that I will be kept busy in helping people resolve their matters through voluntary mediation.

    Denton declined to provide the rates he will be charging.

    According to Judicate West’s website, “Hourly rates depend on the arbitrator selected. Their hourly rates range from $360.00 – $780.00 per hour.”

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      This article relates to: Arbitration, News, Share

      Written by Will Carless

      Will Carless is the former head of investigations at Voice of San Diego. He currently lives in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he is a freelance foreign correspondent and occasional contributor to VOSD. You can reach him at will.carless.work@gmail.com.

      10 comments
      Chris Wood
      Chris Wood subscriber

      "...One big arbitration firm "had held 18,075 hearings before arbitrators in California between Jan. 1, 2003 and March 31, 2007. Of those, consumers had prevailed in 30 cases. That’s a success rate of less than 0.2 percent." 1 in 500 This should be a major news story.and is worse than I thought. Thanks for educating me.

      Chris Wood
      Chris Wood

      "...One big arbitration firm "had held 18,075 hearings before arbitrators in California between Jan. 1, 2003 and March 31, 2007. Of those, consumers had prevailed in 30 cases. That’s a success rate of less than 0.2 percent." 1 in 500 This should be a major news story.and is worse than I thought. Thanks for educating me.

      Chris Wood
      Chris Wood

      It might be good idea to publish industry statistics on the % of time consumers prevail in arbitration cases. Then consumers can decide whether paying $360.00 – $780.00 per hour for an arbitrator is reasonable.

      Dagny Salas
      Dagny Salas

      Hi Chris, Here's a stat from our investigation into arbitration: One big arbitration firm "had held 18,075 hearings before arbitrators in California between Jan. 1, 2003 and March 31, 2007. Of those, consumers had prevailed in 30 cases. That’s a success rate of less than 0.2 percent." http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/05/23/justice-for-sale-part-two-ignoring-the-law/ You can read the whole series here: http://voiceofsandiego.org/category/arbitration/Justice for Sale, Part Two: Ignoring the Lawhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/05/23/justice-for-sale-part-two-ignoring-the-law/A decade ago, California lawmakers decided to act in response to a startling trend in consumer law. Corporations across the country had increasingly been inserting clauses into their contracts that barred consumers from taking them to court.Voice of San Diego " Arbitrationhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/category/arbitration/California consumers are fast losing their right to take businesses to court when they believe they've been wronged. Our three-part series, Justice For Sale, looks at the extraordinary growth in mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts for everythi...

      Chris Wood
      Chris Wood subscriber

      It might be good idea to publish industry statistics on the % of time consumers prevail in arbitration cases. Then consumers can decide whether paying $360.00 – $780.00 per hour for an arbitrator is reasonable.

      Dagny Salas
      Dagny Salas memberadministrator

      Hi Chris, Here's a stat from our investigation into arbitration: One big arbitration firm "had held 18,075 hearings before arbitrators in California between Jan. 1, 2003 and March 31, 2007. Of those, consumers had prevailed in 30 cases. That’s a success rate of less than 0.2 percent." http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/05/23/justice-for-sale-part-two-ignoring-the-law/ You can read the whole series here: http://voiceofsandiego.org/category/arbitration/Justice for Sale, Part Two: Ignoring the Lawhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/05/23/justice-for-sale-part-two-ignoring-the-law/A decade ago, California lawmakers decided to act in response to a startling trend in consumer law. Corporations across the country had increasingly been inserting clauses into their contracts that barred consumers from taking them to court.Voice of San Diego " Arbitrationhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/category/arbitration/California consumers are fast losing their right to take businesses to court when they believe they've been wronged. Our three-part series, Justice For Sale, looks at the extraordinary growth in mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts for everythi...

      richard brick
      richard brick

      Heads they win, tails you lose, all that anyone needs to know about arbitration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      richard brick
      richard brick subscribermember

      Heads they win, tails you lose, all that anyone needs to know about arbitration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Chris Wood
      Chris Wood

      For a humorous look at “agreements” that have now become too familiar see: http://www.fastcompany.com/3006622/our-take-on-terms-of-service-the-terms-of-servitude Perhaps it is time to rethink arbitration. Our Take On Terms Of Service: The Terms Of Servitudehttp://www.fastcompany.com/3006622/our-take-on-terms-of-service-the-terms-of-servitudeThese Terms of Service ("Terms") govern your access to and use of the One More Thing Column ("The Column" or "One More Thing"), by Baratunde Thurston ("Author" or "Grand Poobah"). These Terms apply to anyone reading, hearing about, glancing at, remem...

      Chris Wood
      Chris Wood subscriber

      For a humorous look at “agreements” that have now become too familiar see: http://www.fastcompany.com/3006622/our-take-on-terms-of-service-the-terms-of-servitude Perhaps it is time to rethink arbitration. Our Take On Terms Of Service: The Terms Of Servitudehttp://www.fastcompany.com/3006622/our-take-on-terms-of-service-the-terms-of-servitudeThese Terms of Service ("Terms") govern your access to and use of the One More Thing Column ("The Column" or "One More Thing"), by Baratunde Thurston ("Author" or "Grand Poobah"). These Terms apply to anyone reading, hearing about, glancing at, remem...