Scott v. Cingular Wireless case brief summary
160 Wash.2d 843 (2007)
Petitioner customers challenged a
decision from a trial court in Washington, which entered an order
compelling individual arbitration of a billing dispute involving
respondent cellular telephone company.
CASE FACTS The customers contended that the
company overcharged them. After an action was filed, the company
sought to compel individual arbitration based on a contract clause.
The trial court granted the company's motion, and this appeal
In reversing, the supreme court held that a class action
waiver clause was an unconscionable violation of Washington's policy
to protect the public and foster fair and honest competition in Wash.
Rev. Code § 19.86.920 because it drastically forestalled
attempts to vindicate consumer rights.
To the extent that this clause
prevented cases under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, Wash.
Rev. Code ch. 19.86, it was substantively unconscionable.
clause barred any class action, in arbitration or without, it
functioned to exculpate the drafter from liability for a broad range
of undefined wrongful conduct, including potentially intentional
The Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C.S. §§
1-16, did not preempt Washington law in this case.
class action waiver stated that the entire clause was null and void
if it was unenforceable, there remained no basis to compel
CONCLUSION The decision was reversed, and the case
was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.
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