On September 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a global ride-sharing company’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that a user had consented to arbitrate any disputes when he signed up for an account with the company. Specifically, the named plaintiff of the proposed class action brought the suit against the company for allegedly violating the TCPA when he received a single text message he claims he did not consent to after signing up for the company’s app, and that he claimed he received after he deleted the app. The company moved to compel arbitration, which initially was denied in 2017, when the court held that the company had not shown enough evidence that users were aware of the arbitration agreement and ordered the parties to engage in expedited discovery limited to the arbitration agreement formation. However, following both parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, the court determined that the plaintiff “failed to raise a genuine dispute as to whether he entered into an enforceable agreement to arbitrate,” and that the app presented a statement that creating an account meant that users agreed to the terms of service and privacy policy, which was presented to users “in an easy-to-read font on an uncluttered screen” and required no scrolling.

According to the court, “the manner in which this statement and the Terms of Service were presented placed a reasonable person on notice that there were terms incorporated with creating an . . . account and that, by creating an account, he or she was agreeing to those terms.” Concerning the plaintiff’s argument that his TCPA claim does not fall under the arbitration agreement’s purview, the court stated that the question of what falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement is itself subject to arbitration, and also stated that the Terms of Service specifically permitted the texting of promotional offers to customers, arguably requiring the TCPA claim to be arbitrated. The court dismissed without prejudice the plaintiff’s claims against the company and stayed the case until arbitration proceedings are resolved.