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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

In three recent cases, courts have invalidated portions of consumer clickwrap agreements containing either forum selection or binding arbitration clauses. In the first case, the Washington State Court of Appeals invalidated a forum selection clause found in a clickwrap agreement because the clause was contrary to state consumer protection policies. In the second case, the California Court of Appeals rejected a clickwrap agreement calling for binding arbitration in a specified forum when the plaintiff sought to bring a class action claim. Finally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently declared a binding arbitration clause because it was unconscionable. Although these cases address a relatively new form of contracting known as "clickwrap agreements," the essential issue in each case was not new. These cases suggest that courts are willing to accept the validity of clickwrap agreements in general, but have invalidated specific clauses based on traditional contract doctrines such as unconscionability and public policy. This Article examines these recent cases in light of existing precedent concerning the enforceability of clickwrap agreements.

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