Dotson v. Amgen (CA2/6 B212965 1/21/10) Wrongful Termination/Arbitration
Appellant, Amgen, Inc. (Amgen), hired respondent, attorney Darrell G. Dotson. The employment contract was accompanied by an arbitration agreement and an appendix containing arbitration procedures. One of the provisions states: “Each party shall have the right to take the deposition of one individual and any expert witness designated by another party . . . . Additional discovery may be had where the arbitrator selected pursuant to this agreement so orders, upon a showing of need.” Four years later, Amgen terminated Dotson’s employment, and Dotson filed a complaint for wrongful termination. Amgen moved to compel arbitration and Dotson objected. The trial court found that the provision concerning witness depositions was flawed, declined to sever the provision, and denied the motion. We conclude that the language permitting the arbitrator to expand discovery upon a showing of need removes any taint of “unconscionability” from the agreement. Accordingly, we reverse.