MacClelland et al v. Cellco Partnerships DBA Verizon Wireless

No. 22-16020

Firm: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

Issue Area: Forced Arbitration & Coercive Contracts

Case summary

Quinn Emanuel is representing Cellco Partnerships, doing business as Verizon Wireless, in an appeal seeking to enforce a so-called "bellwether" forced arbitration clause. The bellwether clause requires consumers to wait to file claims ten at a time. As the district court noted, due to the volume of claims against Verizon, consumers could be forced to wait up to up to "156 years to resolve [their] claims." 

The claims against Verizon arise out of hidden fees on their wireless service bills.

Excerpt from the firm's work product

Quinn Emanuel argued that the forced arbitration clause was not unfair, and that the district court should have let an arbitrator decide if the arbitration agreement was legal. Unable to argue that the extensive delays would not occur, Quinn Emanuel wrote, "The district court’s conclusion also rests entirely on speculation about a surpassingly unlikely outcome. For the delay calculated by the district court to arise, large numbers of customers would have to raise similar claims. Those customers would then have to choose to be represented by the same or coordinated counsel. Multiple rounds of bellwether arbitrations would then have to fail to produce a global resolution. Only under that chain of multiple hypothetical contingencies would the delay the district court calculated come to pass. Such a speculative contingency is 'plainly insufficient' to 'justify the invalidation of an arbitration agreement.'"


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