Too Many “IFs” Doom Class Action

A California man’s efforts to bring a class action suit against Sony came to a screeching halt recently when the court dismissed it. The plaintiff contended Sony violated California’s Unfair Competition Law when it changed the terms of its user agreement to incorporate a waiver of class action claims and a mandatory arbitration clause. Despite the fact that users could opt out of those provisions, the plaintiff argued that Sony made that process so onerous that no one would actually do it. The court was unimpressed. And plaintiff’s biggest problem was a pretty fundamental one. He had no damages. The “harm” from the class action waiver/mandatory arbitration clause would be an issue only if there was a problem and if it was in the nature of a class action and if Sony tried to enforce it. So perhaps the law is like baseball. You know, three of something – in this case “ifs” — and you’re out.