Thursday, October 13, 2022

Arbitration Clause From Uber Not Enforceable Where Plaintiff Did Not Click On It -- Right to Jury Trial Upheld

In the case of Chilutti v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 1023 EDA 2021 (Pa. Super. Oct. 12, 2022 Stabile, J., Dubow, J., McCaffery, J.)(Maj. Op. by McCaffery, J.(Dissenting Op. by Stabile, J.), the Court held that an arbitration agreement offered by the Defendant via a set of hyperlinked “terms and conditions” on a website or smartphone app that was never clicked on, viewed or read by the Plaintiff was not enforceable against the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff was wheelchair bound and injured while riding in a car provided by Uber on his way home from a medical appointment.

The Plaintiff filed a negligence claim in the court of common pleas but Uber argued that the case was subject to a mandatory arbitration agreement found in the hyperlinked terms and conditions.

The trial court upheld the arbitration agreement as being applicable and granted Uber’s motion to compel arbitration.

Emphasizing the importance of the constitutional right to a jury trial, the Superior Court reversed and held that the arbitration agreement could not be asserted against the Plaintiff as the Plaintiff had not affirmatively agreed to the arbitration clause. The appellate court instead found that the injured party could invoke his constitutional right to a jury trial.

In so, ruling the Superior Court also issued a new standard of review to be applied to the question of whether or not a party had unambiguously manifested an intent to assent to an arbitration clause. See Op. at p. 30-31.

Anyone wishing to review this interesting decision and the dissent may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg, PA law firm of Schmidt Kramer for bringing this case to my attention.

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