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Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Appellant insurer sought review of the decision of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which denied appellant’s petition for an order directing respondent insured to select an appraiser.

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Overview

Shortly after appellant insurer issued respondent insured a policy of fire insurance, respondent suffered a loss covered under the policy. Respondent sent appellant a verified proof of loss, which appellant rejected. Appellant demanded an appraisal under the policy’s appraisal provision and when respondent failed to select an appraiser appellant filed a petition for an order directing respondent to select an appraiser, which was denied by the trial court. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s judgment, holding that respondent was not without jury trial rights because even if the appraisal clause was specifically enforced, respondent retained its opportunity to pursue its separate civil action. The court found that appellant did not waive its right to arbitration because appellant’s conduct did not support a finding of waiver by it. The court concluded that because respondent made no showing that there was anything at all suspect in the appraiser selection process the policy provided for, even if the policy was viewed as a contract of adhesion, the appraisal provision was enforceable. The court remanded the case with direction to enter judgment in favor of appellant.

Outcome

The court reversed the trial court’s judgment, holding that respondent insured was not denied its right to a jury trial, appellant did not waive its right to arbitration, and the appraiser selection provision was enforceable. The court remanded the cause and directed the trial court to enter judgment in favor of appellant.

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