The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower courts, dismissing the class action law suit filed by the named plaintiffs. In gist, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the “pop-up clickwrap agreement”. In that, the court of justice is not the proper forum.
The Facts of the Case
A class action lawsuit was originally filed on August 2010 in the Western District of Oklahoma. The suit had 4 named plaintiffs. Collectively they represented around 2 million AT&T U-Verse subscribers. The plaintiffs alleged fraud and other violations due to a systematic slow connection.
This resulted in buffering, connectivity freezing, and inability to watch television. Furthermore, the plaintiffs alleged that AT&T intentionally and willfully scrimped on infrastructure and underlying systems on their AT&T U-Verse service. This caused the quality of service to substantially go down. Plaintiffs alleged that such a breach is tantamount to a violation of Law360.
Defense for AT&T alleged that the judiciary was not the proper venue. That resorting to the same was improper and in any case premature. This is because every subscriber agreed to arbitration with AT&T in lieu of filing legal action.
Western District of Oklahoma dismissed the complaint. The plaintiffs did agree when they either signed a contract or adhered to the “pop-up click wrap agreement”. The case was eventually elevated to a Tenth Circuit Appeals Court. The same court affirmed the ruling of the lower court.
Whether or not the regular courts had jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. Considering the plaintiffs were parties to an agreement requiring them to submit to arbitration.
The Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs and in favor of defendants AT&T U-Verse for several reasons. The first is that, the Supreme Court respects the decision of lower courts, especially those affirmed by the appellate court. Second, the “pop-up click wrap agreement” was freely agreed into. It is assumed that it was also intelligently agreed upon. The buyer or subscriber has the obligation to read the full terms and conditions of the contract.
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