Shorts v. AT&T Corp. (West Virginia)
In this case, the plaintiff brought a class action challenging the early termination fees charged by one of AT&T Mobility’s predecessors. After a West Virginia trial court refused to compel arbitration of the plaintiff’s claims on the ground that the class-action waiver in AT&T Mobility’s arbitration provision was unconscionable under West Virginia law, we successfully obtained a writ of mandamus from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. It held that the concerns it had raised about class-action waivers in prior cases were inapplicable in light of the consumer-friendly provisions of AT&T’s arbitration clause. On remand, the trial court granted AT&T’s motion to compel arbitration, concluding that the arbitration provision that would govern any arbitration of the plaintiff’s claims is not unconscionable under West Virginia law. The plaintiff appealed, contending that the circuit court should have evaluated an earlier version of the arbitration provision that contained fewer pro-consumer features and that, in any event, the more recent version is unconscionable. The West Virginia Supreme Court rejected both arguments.