Florida Record

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Judge: Online membership agreement means Florida residents suing JetSmarter must go to arbitration


By Florida Record | May 8, 2019

| David Brossard [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

MIAMI — A federal court has granted Ft. Lauderdale-based JetSmarter's motion to compel arbitration in a lawsuit filed by two Florida residents, alleging the company breached its membership agreement regarding plane flight costs. 

According to an April 29 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida filing, defendants JetSmarter, Inc., and David M. Sheriden filed the motion to compel arbitration in a case filed by plaintiffs and JetSmarter members Sheri Laine and Gary Seidler.

The case stems from Laine and Seidler's allegations that JetSmarter breached a contractual agreement regarding private jet services for its members. Laine and Seidler allege that after paying $30,000 for a "Smart level" JetSmarter membership in March 2018 that allowed them seats on flights less than three hours, they were informed several months later that their "benefits would no longer be available." 

Laine and Seidler allege JetSmarter required them to pay additional money for future flights instead of giving them the "prepaid access to select flights" they had been promised when they purchased their memberships. 

Laine and Seidler allege violation of good faith and fair dealing, violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) and fraud. JetSmart argues the claims must be handled in arbitration according to the membership agreement.  The plaintiffs argue their version of the membership agreement did not have "a valid arbitration clause." The agreement, a so-called "click-wrap" agreement, was agreed to by clicking an "acceptance button" online. 

The court agreed with JetSmart, and U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom concluded: "The court finds that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists, and, thus, there is a strong presumption in favor of arbitration." The court ruled Laine and Seidler had agreed to the arbitration by clicking through and accepting the terms of the membership agreement. 

Bloom ordered the parties must submit their claims "to arbitration in accordance with the membership agreement."

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Jetsmarter U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida Miami Division

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