The Pennsylvania Superior Court has declared that Uber cannot enforce an arbitration “agreement” hidden within hyperlinked terms and conditions.
Founding partner of Messa & Associates, Joseph Messa, who represents plaintiffs Shannon and Keith Chilutti, emphasized that this is the first case before a Pennsylvania appellate court to address the waiver of the right to a jury trial in an online agreement. The majority determined that such hidden provisions deprive parties of their constitutional right to a jury trial and are, therefore, unenforceable.
The ruling applies not only to Uber but also to other companies that use similar online forced arbitration agreements. The decision emphasizes the need for companies to clearly communicate arbitration provisions to users and provides adequate notice that users are giving up the sacrosanct right guaranteed by the constitution. The court acknowledges the imbalance of power and resources between consumers and companies in the context of online contracts.
As a result of the ruling, the personal injury suit brought against Uber by the Chiluttis will proceed to trial court.