Through deceptive web tactics, Intuit tricked thousands of lower-income Americans into paying to file taxes through TurboTax, though they were eligible to file for free. Faced with a putative consumer class action on behalf of 19 million consumers, Intuit compelled the dispute to individual arbitration. Keller Postman then filed individual arbitration demands at AAA for approximately 200,000 of those consumers.
In response, Intuit sought to send most of those consumers to small claims court and delay the arbitrations. In Intuit, Inc. v. 9,933 Individuals, the LA Superior Court denied Intuit’s motion to force our clients’ claims into small-claims court. It also rejected Intuit’s argument that California’s SB 707—which imposes severe penalties on companies that refuse to comply with their own arbitration agreements—is preempted. At oral argument, Judge Terry Green said Keller [Postman] deserves “a toast. Good work.”
Intuit then tried to propose a settlement in the class action it had already compelled to arbitration. Our firm objected, arguing that Intuit should not be able to use a class-action settlement to frustrate individual class members’ efforts to bring individual arbitrations against the company. Intuit’s proposed $40 million class settlement was denied.
In his opinion, Judge Charles Breyer directly addressed the significance of this matter: “This case illustrates the urgent need for Congress to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s arbitration jurisprudence, which gives corporate defendants an unfair advantage over consumers, and undermines the class’s ability to secure a more significant monetary result.”
Furthermore, this is Keller Postman’s largest “mass arbitration” matter to date – and an unprecedented number of simultaneous individual arbitrations against a single defendant.
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