Can a Parent on Behalf of a Minor Child Enter Into Agreement to Waive the Child's Rights ?

The public policy of protecting children from waiver of their litigation rights, on which the Fourth District decision rests, is a generally applicable contract principle and is not peculiar to arbitration agreements. The court have previously held that contract provisions unrelated to arbitration may be ruled unenforceable on public policy grounds. See Mazzoni Farms, Inc. v. E.I. DuPont Nemours & Co., 761 So. 2d 306, 311 (Fla. 2000) (holding that a choice-of-law provision in a contract is enforceable "unless the law of the chosen forum contravenes strong public policy"). As the Fourth District observed, the issue of whether a parent may validly enter into an agreement on behalf of a minor child to waive the child's rights is a question not of the scope of the arbitration agreement but rather of contract formation--"who may be bound by an agreement to arbitrate." Shea, 870 So. 2d at 23; See also EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 534 U.S. 279, 293, 151 L. Ed. 2d 755, 122 S. Ct. 754 (2002) ("The FAA directs courts to place arbitration agreements on equal footing with other contracts, but it does not require parties to arbitrate when they have not agreed to do so.") (internal quotation marks omitted).