Joe Douglass V. Talk America

521 Words3 Pages
The plaintiff, Joe Douglas, entered into a contract with as long distance telephone service provided by America Online that was subsequently acquired by the company Talk America. After the acquisition, Talk America made four provisions to the contract that Douglas had initially agreed to consent to with American Online. These changes, according to Douglas, were made without any notice from Talk America, and thus in violation of the Federal Communication Act, various California consumer protection law as well as breach of contract. Douglas filed a class action lawsuit against Talk America in California District Court after discovering the additional charges incurred during the four years following the contract provisions when he had continued using the long distance telephone services.
In District Court, Talk America argued that the case should be moved to an arbitration hearing, as stated in the contract provisions, which the Court agreed with and granted the motion. Douglas then requested for a writ of mandamus , due to the rule
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Talk America suggests Douglas “has meaningful alternative choices for telephone service” to discredit the unfairness of the arbitration clause despite that fact that The California Court of Appeals found that an arbitration clause in a revised contract is unenforceable against existing customers. The Court also stated that California does recognize the availability of alternatives as a genuine argument against procedural unconscionability, and so the contract cannot be enforceable as a matter of law. In regards to the class action waiver provision, the Court found that the determination of a contract’s substantive unconscionability relies on the facts presented during the case proceedings, which the district could not have had when making their
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