District Court upholds arbitration in website terms of use

From JDSupra, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP discusses a case in which the arbitration clause was part of the terms of use for the webiste and the court said that claimants must arbitrate their claims.

On March 28, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina ruled that class members must arbitrate their claims against an online lending marketplace relating to a 2022 data breach that affected current, former, and prospective customers. The court found that a mandatory arbitration clause contained in the defendant’s terms of use agreement “is broad enough to encompass the claims” brought by class members, and adopted recommendations made by a magistrate judge in February, who found that the agreement not only requires users to agree to be bound by its terms of use when they make their accounts, but also requires that users consent, acknowledge, and agree to its terms of use any time they submit consumer loan searches on the website. The plaintiff argued that there was not a binding contract between the parties because he did not “fully and clearly” understand that he had agreed to arbitrate disputes with the defendant. He further attested that because he never saw the terms of use, he “lacked actual or inquiry notice.” In particular, the plaintiff complained about the placement and font size of the notice, which he claimed no reasonable consumer would have seen “as there is no reason to scroll down the page after seeing the ‘Create Account’ tab.” The magistrate judge disagreed, stating that the “[p]laintiff had multiple opportunities to read and decline the terms if he chose,” and that “[t]his is not the needle in a haystack search that [p]laintiff depicts.” In agreeing with the recommendations, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to show that the magistrate judge’s determination “was clearly erroneous or contrary to law” and said the plaintiff is bound by the arbitration clause.

Source: District Court upholds arbitration in website terms of use | Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – JDSupra

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