The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that T-Mobile USA’s arbitration clause is not enforceable under Washington State law, giving the go-ahead for a class action lawsuit filed against the carrier.
“The majority of the courts around the country have lined up in the same way as the Ninth Circuit,” Seattle attorney Daniel Johnson who represents the plaintiffs, told Reuters. “There is a limit to what you can require consumers to give up in terms of protecting their rights.”
T-Mobile has not yet commented on the decision.
Two T-Mobile customers sued the carrier for breach of contract and violating the state of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. The case alleges that the carrier charged them improper fees for services that should have been free and billed calls during the wrong billing cycle. Citing a clause in its service agreements that prohibit class action litigation, T-Mobile USA asked the court to move the case to arbitration.
The Ninth Circuit upheld an earlier ruling that the provision in the carrier’s service agreement that prohibited litigation was “unconscionable and unenforceable” under state law. The court also rejected T-Mobile’s claims that the Federal Arbitration Act pre-empts state law.
The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled similarly in case filed against Cingular, now AT&T.
Filed Under: Infrastructure