District Of Massachusetts Holds That Consumers With No Arbitration Agreement Must Arbitrate Their “Closely Intertwined” Class Action Claims
It is a legal maxim that arbitration is a creature of contract. A recent District of Massachusetts decision explores critical questions about when that creature can exist outside of the confines of a binding agreement to arbitrate among the parties.
The November 27, 2019 decision by Senior U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole ordered that plaintiff fantasy sports players were obligated to arbitrate their class action claims against DraftKings, Fan Duel, and their payment processing companies. The claims referred to arbitration included not only those brought by players with arbitration agreements with DraftKings and Fan Duel, but claims by players with no contractual relationship with the defendant on the basis that their claims were closely “intertwined” with claims subject to arbitration. However, the Court drew a line at family members of players, determining that they had not reaped any benefit from a contract with an arbitration agreement, and thus could not be compelled to arbitrate. Judge O’Toole also declined to hear challenges