Where a plaintiff, having brought suit alleging that a television rented to the defendants was stolen as the result of negligence on the defendants' part, has moved to stay the proceedings pending arbitration, the motion must be allowed because the arbitration agreement is not void on public policy grounds.
“In Freeney [v.Dell, Inc., 466 Mass. 1001 (2013)], the S.J.C. held…that contractual waivers of ‘class arbitration' are valid and enforceable…
“Therefore in the instant case, this Court rejected these Defendants' arguments that the Motion to Stay Pending Arbitration should be denied because the waiver of arbitration clause is against public policy…
“In the total circumstance of this case, the Court also rejects the Defendants' arguments that the Plaintiff has waived its contractual right to arbitration by invoking the jurisdiction of this Court, and participating in the lawsuit (both as evidenced by the Plaintiff filing the initial Small Claims action, and then successfully moving for said action to be transferred to the regular docket), and then resulting prejudice to the Defendants.
“…In the total circumstances of this case, the Court infers that the Defendants would not be significantly prejudiced, if at all (aside from their preference to bring a class action counterclaim) by this matter being stayed pending arbitration.”
Rent-A-Center, Inc. v. Keller, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 16-004-13) (4 pages) (Contant, J.) (Hampden District Court)
David Katz and Elaine McChesney for the plaintiff; Jeffrey Morneau and Mark Cress for the defendants (Civil Docket
No. 1244CV0162) (Nov. 12, 2013).