An arbitration clause is “substantively unconscionable” and therefore unenforceable under Pennsylvania law if it puts a plaintiff at a “distinct disadvantage” by restricting discovery depositions to expert witnesses, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled.

In his 16-page opinion in Ostroff v. Alterra Healthcare Corp., Senior U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois refused to compel arbitration in a personal injury suit against a Bucks County, Pa., assisted-living center brought by an 87-year-old woman who claims she was knocked to the ground by an attendant who failed to knock before opening a door.

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