One Class Action Lawsuit Against LG’s Bootloop Issue Has Been Compelled Into Arbitration

One Class Action Lawsuit Against LG’s Bootloop Issue Has Been Compelled Into Arbitration

Bootloops on LG devices are as infamous as they are common, often being used in arguments against the merit of devices manufactured by LG. LG had admitted that the bootloops were hardware related on the G4 and had promised to repair the affected devices “under full warranty”. But despite LG supposedly figuring out the issue, the same problem continued to plague other LG-made devices such as the Nexus 5X, LG V10 and LG V20.

With very little respite in sight from the OEM, consumers had to approach the Court for justice. A Class Action Lawsuit was filed against LG when LG continued to manufacture smartphones with the defects and did not follow through with a recall to fix and repair susceptible devices. The lawsuit even claimed that LG replaced bootlooping devices under warranty with devices that once again succumbed to bootloops.

Initially, this particular lawsuit was filed against LG over the LG G4 and the LG V10. Subsequently, the LG-made Nexus 5X, the LG G5 and the LG V20 were also added to the case.

The latest development on the case comes as a heavy blow to the affected consumers and to those who wished to see an end to the bootloops for once and for all. The California Central District Court has passed an order to compel arbitration in this case, thus dismissing the class action lawsuit. LG had filed for a motion to compel arbitration, and based on the facts of the case, the Court saw it fit to grant the motion and dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice (an “open door” to file the case again later).

The grant of the motion in LG’s favor came through a smart legal technicality that LG incorporated in its sales strategy. AndroidPolice has uploaded a copy of the Order, which mentions that the Court has adopted the standard laid down in the [famous] case of Hill v. Gateway 2000, Inc. The Hill case basically lays down that additional terms can become part of the contract between parties even if they were not specifically spelled out at the time of contract, provided that the parties had an opportunity to inspect the terms and their acceptance of the additional terms can be assumed from their lack of refusal.

In LG’s case, each of the purchased phones came in a box which contained documentation related to LG’s Limited Warranty. The Limited Warranty contained a provision for arbitration which makes it binding upon the parties (LG and the purchaser) to resolve disputes through binding arbitration instead of in Court, unless the purchaser chooses to opt out. The ability to opt-out of this arbitration clause (a clause that prohibits class action lawsuits and jury trials) is time-limited, giving the purchaser the option to send LG an email or call a toll-free number within 30 days from the date of purchase.

Applying Hill’s case to the carefully drafted Warranty Agreement, the additional terms of Limited Warranty become applicable and binding on the parties. This is irrespective of the purchasers even knowing about the existence of these additional terms prior to purchasing, nor is it affected by the simplistic human nature to ignore all documentations inside of our phone boxes. Since the agreement to refer to arbitration and waive off a civil lawsuit hinged on the explicit refusal to accept the clause, the purchasers were deemed to have accepted the arbitration clause when their 30-day period ended. Under the laws applicable in LG’s case, silence did constitute assent in this context.

The state-specific law discussed above {in the Order} makes clear that each of the three states recognizes that shrinkwrap or “in-the-box” agreements, such as Defendants’, can be accepted through silence or inaction. The agreement here, which could be found inside the box of the product, gave Plaintiffs 30 days to return the product or opt out of the arbitration clause. Plaintiffs chose to keep the phones without opting out. As a result, the Court agrees with Defendants that Plaintiffs have assented to the agreement found inside the box, including the arbitration clause.

AndroidPolice states that arbitration is not likely to result in as much relief or compensation for the plaintiffs as compared to the class action lawsuit that was existing. To an extent, we agree, as forcing arbitration in this matter breaks down the collective nature of a class action lawsuit, and acts in the advantage of the big corporation and to the detriment of smaller consumers. Every plaintiff now has to undergo arbitration procedure, making this a barrier for those seeking justice but not possessing the inclination to involve themselves in complex, expensive and time-consuming legal disputes.

But just because the case has been compelled towards arbitration does not mean that all hope is lost. The arbitrator in his review of the case and the evidence can impose a decision that comes out in the favor of the bootlooped parties. Also, since the case has been dismissed without prejudice, an option to file the case in court at a later time still exists.

If you are a US citizen, have been affected by the bootloop on the mentioned LG devices purchased by you through LG or its authorized retailers and would like to join the suit (the arbitration proceeding, in this case), you can contact the attorneys involved. XDA-Developers advises readers to use their own discretion when deciding on their participation.

Even though the LG bootloop class action lawsuit did not turn out favorably towards the consumers, it does teach us one important lesson. While unboxing your phone, installing software or entering into any sort of agreement in any other scenario, always look for the fine print, and read and understand its implications. The existence of a legal ‘loophole’ allowed lawyers to craft a way out of a big and ugly mess, and something like this could have been avoided if more purchasers knew how to opt out of such forced arbitration agreements. We recommend readers to take some time out and read through the Warranty Agreements on their recent purchases.

What are your thoughts on the outcome of LG’s Bootloop lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: AndroidPolice


About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

I am a tech journalist with XDA since 2015, while being a qualified business-litigation lawyer with experience in the field. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected]