Appeals court rejects Samsung's attempt to move Galaxy S4 suit from court to arbitration



A few years ago, a gentleman named Daniel Norcia complained that Samsung misled him about the capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S4. More specifically, Norcia said that he wasn't told the truth about the device's speed, performance and memory. The phone owner wants to take Samsung to Court. Samsung would prefer to take its chances in binding arbitration. The company says that the warranty sheets inside the phone's retail box prohibit Norcia from taking his complaint inside a courtroom. Additionally, Samsung said that the warranty papers inside the box also prevent the consumer from initiating a class action suit. That would mean that anyone suing Samsung over the same issues would have to pay to have their own case brought to court.

In 2014, a U.S. District Court in California disagreed with Samsung. The court ruled that the warranty papers found inside the box do not provide enough of a notice to alert consumers about the arbitration clause. So Samsung appealed, and both sides presented their case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last October (check out the video at the top of this story). The appeals court unanimously ruled against Samsung. While agreeing that the language used in the warranty is "contractual," the warranty is there to guarantee Samsung's obligations as the phone's manufacturer and does not impose anything binding on the part of the buyer. And because the clause in the warranty specifically is written to cover "the sale, condition or performance" of the device, the court ruled that contracts law should apply.


With that in mind, the three judge panel went by previous rulings in California, where the phone was purchased. Courts there have ruled that "silence or inaction does not constitute acceptance of an offer." Samsung even tried to use the Verizon Customer Agreement to say that Mr. Norcia's complaints had to be heard under binding arbitration; the appellate court wasn't having any of it. The judges wrote that Samsung is not a signatory, and there is no evidence showing that the Verizon Customer Agreement was written to benefit the manufacturer.

But don't count Samsung out yet. The company's record with the Supreme Court recently has been pretty good, and taking the case all the way up to the most powerful court in the land is still an option.

source: U.S.CourtofAppeals (9th Circuit) via TheConsumerist, Engadget

Related phones

Galaxy S4
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(17h 3G talk time)

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20 Comments

1. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

What is this idiot complaining about?

2. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Warranty is about covering phone defects not your ticket to bind your customer rights to sue.

3. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Absurd US justice system.

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

How exactly? You have a right to sue. You also have a right to lose your money. Of this guy loses, am curious how he will have the cash to pay for Samsungs legal defense. How exactly was hr misled? I cant wait to read the details.

12. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

indeed indeed! it's true when there are too many laws!

4. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Omfg. Why is this even a case in the legal system?

5. sissy246

Posts: 7111; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

OMG If he wins it will not stop for any company, they all over exaggerate what a phone can do.

6. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Not just phone companies...

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

No they do not. I have not seen any oem exaggerate facts on their devices. Can you give me an example?

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"More specifically, Norcia said that he wasn't told the truth about the device's speed, performance and memory" Frankly, I hope he wins. Samsung keeps giving their half-assed SD variant to US and now Canadian citizens. Maybe this will teach them to give only the optimized Exynos variants...

14. mikehunta727 unregistered

100% agreed. I am suprised that there is not more conversation about the difference between the SD models and Exynos models. Exynos models have pretty much been better all this time in both performance and fluidity, and also better battery life

16. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Well maybe if the US had the same standards as the rest of the world......

17. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

I doubt it has anything to do with that, 'cause last year they were giving the Exynos S7 Edge here in Canada, then they switched to the SD variant in the Note 7 (https://goo.gl/dkYbwb , hence why I returned mine). I think it's more to do with meeting chipset demand...

18. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

The S6 had all Exynos.....they could do it if they wanted to

19. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Even more reason why they should, but then again, their sales dropped with the S6...

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The S4 had performance issjes do to Samsung cramming to many gimmicky features. But all of them coukd be turned off. Its also why the S5 lost most of them because people did complain about

11. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

What the xxxx? How many years and how much resource to waste on jurisdiction in human being? Make the law process easy and simple!

13. JMartin22

Posts: 2370; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Why is this an issue worth suing a company over? If the device didn't live up to expectations, he simply could have exchanged or sold it for a more suitable phone.

15. Subie

Posts: 2361; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I'd like to know more of the exact details of how Daniel Norcia feels Samsung misled him regarding the Galaxy s4's speed, performance and Memory.

20. cnpthe3rd

Posts: 103; Member since: Feb 01, 2009

what a risky gamble on his part, should he loose I'm sure the "bill" for Samsung's legal costs is going to be outrageous. and if he wins the law is there to "make him whole" so Samsung would have to pay his costs and whatever he originally paid for the S4 they somehow "misrepresented"

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