In this important case, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Cingular Wireless?s standard subscriber arbitration clause was invalid because it barred class-actions.?? The class-action waiver made it impossible as a practical matter for plaintiffs to enforce their rights under the Consumer Protection Act. ?The plaintiffs claimed they had been unlawfully overcharged between $1? and? $40? per? month.?? ?Cingular?s? monthly phone bills contained a mandatory arbitration clause and a class-action waiver.?? The Superior Court ruled that the class-action waiver was valid and upheld the arbitration clause. ?The Supreme Court took direct review and reversed.?? Citing Zuver and Adler, the majority held that the class- action waiver was substantively unconscionable under Washington contract law.??? ?Justice Chambers?s opinion recognizes the practical reality that no attorney is going to take on an individual claim involving a trivial amount of money. ?This is precisely why class actions were created ?in ?the ?first ?place.?? ??Justices ?Madsen, Bridge and Jim Johnson dissented.? ?Scott v. Cingular Wireless, 161 P.3d 1000 (2007).
Arbitration Agreements Cannot Bar Class Actions
Jun 18, 2007