Court Issues Second Arbitration Opinion in Stubhub Refund Litigation MDL

On Wednesday, the Northern District of California court overseeing the case against Stubhub Inc. concerning a change in its refund policy that coincided with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, clarified which of the plaintiffs’ claims must be arbitrated. Previously, the court ruled on the threshold issue of notice and shifted plaintiffs who purchased event tickets using a web browser to arbitration but not those who used a mobile app.

The case alleges that Stubhub misrepresented its policy and failed to explain that it would no longer offer a money back guarantee, but instead would give purchasers a 120% credit in the event of show cancellation. Stubhub moved to compel arbitration once, resulting in the November opinion. Its second motion, focusing on the mobile app user plaintiffs’ claims, is pending. 

Following the first ruling, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. directed the parties to brief the issues giving rise to the conflict. “Having reviewed the letter briefs, it is clear that the parties disagree about which claims are compelled to arbitration and which claims remain pending before this Court,” this week’s opinion said.

First, Judge Gilliam said that during the hearing, the plaintiffs made an admission that a case that would have shielded their claims from arbitration does not apply to California common law causes of action. As such, the court compelled the plaintiffs’ claims for conversion, restitution, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract to arbitration as to website purchaser plaintiffs.

The second question Judge Gilliam addressed was whether any California statutory claims had to be arbitrated. The court found those claims severable for judicial determination under circuit precedent, thus permitting them to proceed in court.

The plaintiffs are represented by Ahdoot & Wolfson PC and Wittels McInturff Palikovic. StubHub is represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP.