Samsung has asked the federal judge overseeing the putative class action litigation against it related to overheating phones to toss the claims out of court and send them to be resolved in arbitration.
In court papers responding to the plaintiff’s motion against arbitration, Samsung argued against the plaintiff’s assertion that the arbitration clause contained in the Galaxy S3′s product packaging didn’t clearly indicate purchasers were roped into a binding arbitration agreement.
Class representative Brittany Jones did not dispute that the arbitration disclaimer was in the package, Samsung said in court papers.
“Instead, she argues that inside-the-box agreements are unenforceable unless the outside of the package alerts consumers that ‘terms will be found inside,’ and unless use of the product is prohibited absent ‘some affirmative step [by the consumer] to manifest assent’ to arbitration. Both arguments are incorrect,” the company said in its filing.
The case is before U.S. District Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti of the Western District of Pennsylvania. As of press time, Jones had not responded to the filing.
D. Aaron Rihn, an attorney with Robert Peirce & Associates in Pittsburgh representing Jones, did not respond to a request for comment.
The company argued it did not need to provide notification on the outside of the S3 package, but did so anyway.
“It is well-established that inside-the-box provisions are enforceable regardless of whether the outside of the packaging contains a notice,” Samsung said. “In any event, the outside of the Samsung S3 box did contain sufficient notice.”
The notice Samsung referred to is bold text on the box, which reads, “Important Information for the Samsung SPH-L710,” the technical name for the S3.
In Jones’ motion opposing arbitration, the plaintiff claimed buyers of the phone did not have pre-sale notice of the arbitration provision.
“As described below, courts throughout the country have consistently held that whether offering contract terms on paper, in a so-called ‘shrinkwrap’ agreement where the terms appear inside product packaging, or increasingly frequently on a website or mobile application, the offeror must provide sufficiently conspicuous notice of the terms and the means of assent so that a reasonably prudent consumer would be on notice that contract terms are at issue and of what action on the consumer’s part will constitute assent to those terms,” Jones’ court papers said.
She continued, “If the circumstances under which contractual terms are presented are clear and conspicuous enough to put the reasonable consumer on notice that such terms exist, she will be treated as if she assented to the terms under the concept of inquiry notice. Here, however, no such circumstances existed and plaintiff was not on notice that the box contained buried terms of an offer and that she would be bound by such terms regardless of whether she read them.”