Help interpreting Contract

Below is a portion (what i think is relevant) of an "Arbitration Agreement" that i signed. I want to take a dentist to small claims court, but i'm having trouble understanding if this contract allows it. Can someone help me interpret it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Article 1: Agreement to Arbitrate: It is understood that any dispute as to medical malpractice, that is as to whether any medical services rendered under this contract were unnecessary or unauthorized or were improperly, negligently or incompetently rendered, will be determined by submission to arbitration as provided by California Law, and not by lawsuit or resort to court process except as California law provides for judicial review of arbitration proceedings. Both parties to this Contract, by entering into it, are giving up their constitutional right to have any such dispute decided in a court of law before a jury, and instead are accepting the use of arbitration.

Article 2: All Claims Must Be Arbitrated: It is the intention and agreement of the parties that this arbitration agreement shall cover all claims or controversies relating to the matters described in Article 1 above, except claims within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court, whether in tort (intentional or negligent), contract, or otherwise, including but not limited to suits relating to the matters described in Article 1 and also involving claims for loss of consortium, wrongful death, discrimination, emotional distress or punitive damages.

I think that's a typo. It should read "any such dispute".

I agree that a claim that is eligible to go to small claims court would not be subject to the arbitration agreement based on the clauses above.

It could be drafted a little more clearly. Article 1 basically says it covers all claims related to medical malpractice, then Article 2 says Article 1 does not really mean all claims, as small claims are exempted. But yeah ... it appears that small claims related to medical malpractice are exempted. Do you have a small claim related to medical malpractice?

sorry for the typos, i typed it up myself.

anyway, i have a small claim, but i'm not sure if it's related to malpractice.

i want to sue them because they are charging me for work they didn't do. actually they did it but messed up 4 times and i ended getting the work done somewhere else but they're still charging me for it.

so does this contract give me the freedom to do so?

It certainly sounds as if your claim would be considered an issue of medical malpractice. But, that actually does not make any difference, so long as it falls within the jurisdiction of the small claims courts. I was just curious what the circumstances were.


All the same, you should be able to resolve the matter without having to file if you put some pressure on the dentist and threaten to file suit if they persist in trying to charge you for the shoddy dental work. Any claim, however small, could negatively affect his malpractice premiums. So, I would make this clear to them, then file if you need to do so.

That would be correct, Iron Joe. You are waiving your right to a jury trial and agreeing to arbitration.