Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Olga Muniz ordered a Dell computer in 2001. Dell sent Muniz a purchase invoice containing written terms and conditions, which included a binding arbitration provision. When the computer was delivered to Muniz, it enclosed another copy of the same written terms and conditions, along with the arbitration clause. The arbitration provision excluded claims arising under the applicable written warranty. The limited written warranty for defect-free hardware was also included with the delivered computer. Muniz filed a proposed class action suit against Dell in January 2000. She complained that Dell misrepresented the memory capacity of the computer by approximately 7 percent. Muniz alleged that Dell’s use of the terms “kilobyte,” “megabyte,” and “gigabyte” as decimal rather than binary measurements was incorrect and misleading. Dell filed a motion to compel arbitration. In response, Muniz filed an amended petition asserting only a cause of action for breach of the written warranty. The trial court denied Dell’s motion and an interlocutory appeal. HOLDING:Appeal dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; writ conditionally granted. Because this dispute involves a contract evidencing a transaction involving interstate commerce (the Dell computer was assembled in Tennessee), the Federal Arbitration Act applies, and the FAA does not allow the denial of a motion to compel arbitration to be appealed. The court then turns to decide whether the writ of mandamus is appropriate. As the parties agree that the arbitration clause is valid and binding, the court says it must consider whether Muniz’s claim falls within the provision’s scope. In her second amended petition, Muniz again states that the use of the terms “kilobyte,” “megabyte” and “gigabyte” as decimal numbers, instead of binary measurements, was misleading, and that she consequently did not receive what she paid for. She also asserts that Dell’s warranty said her hard drive would be free of defects, and the hard drive’s diminished memory capacity was a defect. The court notes, however, that Muniz fails to point to a specific defect in the materials or workmanship of either the hard drive or the memory component of the hard drive. The gist of Muniz’s complaint is that Dell misrepresents the memory capacity of its computers in its marketing and sales materials to all consumers nationwide. “We conclude that her factual allegations do not state a claim for breach of Dell’s limited written warranty. Therefore, Muniz’s claim does not fall within the arbitration agreement’s stated exception for claims arising under the written warranty. Because we conclude Muniz’s claim against Dell falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement, we hold the trial court abused its discretion in declining to compel arbitration.” OPINION:Phylis J. Speedlin, J.; Duncan, Marion and Speedlin, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.