Dang v. Samsung
This is a putative class action on behalf of people who purchased Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone before learning that many of the technologies used in the phone allegedly infringed upon Apple patents—allegations which resulted in a multi-million-dollar jury verdict against Samsung. In response to this consumer class action, Samsung invoked its arbitration clause, which was buried deep in its warranty booklet in a question-and-answer format, and failed to specify that it was an agreement or contract. Moreover, nothing on the product packaging or transaction receipt notified consumers that the warranty booklet contained contractual provisions which would bind them if they purchased the product. We represented the putative class to challenge this hidden arbitration provision as unenforceable.
We secured a major victory in the Ninth Circuit, which held that consumers’ silence—in this case, their failure to opt out—did not mean that they agreed to arbitration, particularly when the arbitration agreement was hidden in
warranty booklet inside a product box. The opinion, along with a decision issued on the same day in a companion case called Norcia v. Samsung Telecommunications America LLC, roundly criticizes a growing trend in which corporations attempt to take away consumers’ rights by slipping arbitration clauses where consumers are unlikely to look.
- Karla Gilbride
Clayton D. Halunen and Melissa Wolchansky of Halunen Law
Michael Reese of Reese LLP