As a mediator who handles a lot of “lemon” law matters, I have mediated many cases in which an alleged violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is one of the claims. Last fall, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion involving this Act. Recently, it withdrew its opinion in light of the hullaballoo surrounding class action arbitration waivers. As it impacts you as the consumer, it is the subject of this week’s blog.
In 1975, Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (“Act”), 15 U.S.C. å¤2301, “. . . in response to an increasing number of consumer complaints regarding the inadequacy of warranties on consumer goods.” Davis v. Southern Energy Homes, 305 F.3d 1268, 1272 (11th Cir. 2002). Consequently, the Act “”. . .provides a statutory private right of action to consumers “damaged by the failure of a supplier, warrantor, or service contractor to comply with an obligation under this chapter, or under a written warranty, implied warranty, or service contract . . . .” Id. at å¤2301(d) (1). Consumers may sue for a . . .violation in either state or federal court. Id.””
The Act encourages the parties to settle their disputes through the use of informal settlement procedures. 15 U.S.C. å¤2310(a). One such procedure is arbitration.
One issue is whether such an arbitration can be binding. That is, can the manufacturer require a consumer to resort to binding arbitration (and thereby take away the consumer’s right to file a lawsuit in court?) The Eleventh Circuit (encompassing Alabama, Georgia and Florida) held in Davis,supra, that “. . . written warranty claims arising under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act may be subject to valid binding arbitration agreements.” (Id. at p. 1280).
On September 20, 2011, the Ninth Circuit (encompassing the Western United States including California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska) disagreed. In Kolev v. Euromotors West/The Auto Gallery, et al. (Case No. 09-55963) (decided under the Act on September 20, 2011), the appellate court concluded that “. . .written provisions that mandate pre-dispute binding arbitration are invalid under the
Do you like what you read?
If you would like to receive this blog automatically by e mail each week, please click on one of the following plugins/services:
and for the URL, type in my blog post address: http://www.pgpmediation.com/feed/ and then type in your e mail address and click "submit".
Copyright 2021 Phyllis G. Pollack and www.pgpmediation.com, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Phyllis G. Pollack and www.pgpmediation.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.