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Scott v. Cingular Wireless

Supreme Court of Washington
160 Wash.2d 843 (2007)


Doug Scott, Loren and Sandra Tabasinske and Patrick and Janet Oishi (Scott/Oishi) (plaintiffs) purchased cellular telephones and calling plans from Cingular Wireless (Cingular) (defendant). The standard pre-printed contracts signed by Scott/Oishi contained a mandatory arbitration clause which included a provision prohibiting class actions. Cingular's revised provision stated that Cingular would pay arbitration costs if the claim was not found to be frivolous; that it would reimburse the customer for reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses if the customer recovered at least the demand amount and that if the waiver of class action provision were to be found unenforceable, the clause for arbitration would become null and void. Scott/Oishi commenced a class action in which they asserted that they were improperly billed for long distance and/or "roaming" calls, and that as a result of these charges, they were over-billed up to approximately $45 per month. The trial court disagreed with Scott/Oishi's contention that the class action waiver provision was substantively and procedurally unconscionable and thereby unenforceable, and granted Cingular's motion to compel individual arbitration. Scott/Oishi appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Chambers, J.)

Dissent (Madsen, J.)

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