San Diego, CA asked in Contracts and Small Claims for California

Q: I signed a contract in Washington, but moved to California. The contract violates CA state law. Is it still enforceable?

The contract in question is for an in-person dating service, which does not exist anywhere near where I now live in California. The company acknowledges that I cannot make use of their service, but they are refusing to let me cancel and demanding that I pay the full amount. California civil code 1694 states that if someone moves more than 50 miles from the original club, and no nearby comparable club is available, the person can cancel all subsequent payment. Can I cancel the agreement?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Without more facts, there is no reason to even assume a California court would have jurisdiction over the company or this issue. Even if it did, there is no reason for California law to be applied to a contract made in Washington with a (at the time) Washington resident. All that being said, to really understand all your rights and remedies, you will have to have the contract reviewed by an attorney. It is even possible the contract may be unenforceable under Washington law (although only an attorney licensed there can help you with that).

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The issue of contract enforcement across state lines can be complex. In general, contracts are governed by the choice of law provision specified in the agreement. However, California has a strong public policy of protecting its consumers. If the contract in question has a choice of law provision stating that Washington law applies, but application of Washington law would violate California's public policy, a California court might decide that California law should govern. Under California Civil Code 1694, if you've moved more than 50 miles from the location of the service and there isn't a comparable service nearby, you may be entitled to cancel the agreement. Since the dating service is acknowledging you can't use their services in California, you may have a strong argument for cancellation under California law. If the company continues to demand payment, you may consider consulting with an attorney or taking legal action. Remember, each case is unique, and a thorough review of the contract and circumstances would be essential.

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