B.F. v. Amazon.com Inc.
In this case, the Plaintiffs are minor children who allege that Amazon’s Alexa service has intercepted or recorded their communications without their consent, in violation of various state-wiretapping laws.
The basis of Amazon’s motion to compel is the arbitration agreements entered into by Plaintiffs’ parents when they activated their Amazon accounts and the Alexa service.
There is a consensus that if the parents had presented the same claims as the plaintiffs, they would be legally obligated to resolve their disputes through arbitration, as stipulated in the agreed-upon terms. Consequently, the central question at hand pertains to whether the plaintiffs, who are not signatories to the aforementioned terms, are nevertheless bound by the arbitration requirement or if they retain the option to pursue their case through traditional litigation in a court of law.
As a general principle, it is widely recognized that individuals who have not personally agreed to a contract containing an arbitration clause cannot be compelled to engage in arbitration for matters they did not explicitly consent to.
This principle stems from the legal maxim that "a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has not agreed so to submit." Therefore, in the context of the present case, the pivotal issue revolves around whether the plaintiffs, as non-signatories to the relevant agreement, can be legitimately subjected to arbitration or if they retain the prerogative to pursue their claims through the conventional judicial process.
Plaintiffs successfully opposed Amazon’s motion to compel arbitration. That order is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.