Law School Case Brief
Nicosia v. Amazon.com, Inc. - 384 F. Supp. 3d 254 (E.D.N.Y. 2019)
In deciding a motion to compel arbitration, "courts apply a 'standard similar to that applicable for a motion for summary judgment.'" Accordingly, the Court will "consider all relevant, admissible evidence submitted by the parties and contained in the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with ... affidavits."
On January 30, 2013 and April 19, 2013, Plaintiff Dean Nicosia went on Amazon.com (Amazon) and placed orders of 1-Day Diet, a product marketed as a weight-loss supplement, which contained the harmful compound sibutramine. The account from which these purchases were made was held in his wife’s name and was previously enrolled in a program called “Amazon Mom.” In order to enroll in “Amazon Mom,” a user must accept the "Amazon Prime Terms and Conditions," which incorporated an arbitration provision.
Plaintiff subsequently brought a putative class action against defendant Amazon, asserting that Amazon's sales of 1-Day Diet violated the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2051, et seq., and state law. After Amazon moved to compel arbitration, the matter was referred to the Hon. Lois Bloom for a Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), which advised that the motion be granted on the grounds that Plaintiff agreed to the Conditions of Use directly through the checkout page.
Should Amazon’s motion to compel arbitration be granted?
The Court noted that in order to determine whether arbitration must be compelled, a court must resolve two issues: (i) whether the parties agreed to arbitrate; and (ii) whether the dispute at hand fell within the scope of the arbitration agreement. The Court held that under the circumstances, the plaintiff entered into an arbitration agreement with Amazon. The Conditions of Use, which were incorporated into the Prime T&C, and to which the wife agreed when the Account enrolled in Amazon Mom, broadly stated that “any dispute or claim relating in any way to your visit to Amazon.com or to products or services sold or distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration.” Clearly, purchases of all products on Amazon.com—whether Prime-eligible or not—fell within this provision's plain sweep. Moreover, the Court held that plaintiff was equitably estopped from avoiding arbitration. Hence, the Court adopted the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation, and granted the motion to compel arbitration.
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