United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
RONALD GORNY, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
WAYFAIR INC. and WAYFAIR LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Gorny filed this putative class action against Wayfair Inc.
and Wayfair LLC-collectively "Wayfair"-alleging
violations of Illinois contract and tort law arising from his
purchase of a headboard from Wayfair.com. Wayfair has moved
to compel arbitration under the dispute resolution provision
below, the Court grants Wayfair's motion.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. In
early July 2018, Gorny accessed Wayfair.com and purchased an
upholstered headboard for his bed. This was not Gorny's
first time on the website. Indeed, according to data provided
by Wayfair, he had visited Wayfair.com on at least 200
separate occasions and had made two previous purchases from
the website. During those visits, Gorny had apparently viewed
more than 13, 000 distinct pages on the site. Each of these
couple of days after he ordered it, Gorny received the
headboard and installed it in his home. He says he soon
discovered a large number of small insects, which turned out
to be bedbugs, infesting the headboard's upholstery.
According to Gorny, he promptly complained to Wayfair about
the problem. Wayfair, for its part, says that its records
indicate no such complaint was ever made directly to its
customer service department. Rather, Gorny apparently
indicated the bedbug infestation exclusively in a comment box
at the end of a consumer satisfaction survey he completed
some fifty-five days after he received the headboard.
contends that this dispute does not belong in court.
Initially, Wayfair contends that it is unlikely that the
headboard became infested before it got to Gorny. More
importantly, though, Wayfair contends that, irrespective of
the source of the bedbugs, this dispute falls within the
scope of a binding agreement to arbitrate that it contends
Gorny assented to when he used Wayfair.com and when he
ordered the headboard. Wayfair notes that a hyperlink to the
on each of the more than 13, 000 pages Gorny visited on
Wayfair.com and that Gorny was specifically admonished on
several occasions that "by continuing to the site, you
Policy." Klein Decl., dkt. no. 21-1, ¶ 11.
Moreover, Gorny was specifically notified before ordering the
headboard-and before making his two previous orders-that,
“[b]y placing an order, you are agreeing to our
message appeared immediately below the large purple
"Place Your Order" button that Gorny had to press
in order to initiate his order, as reproduced below.
Id. ¶ 7.
paragraph addressing dispute resolution:
YOU AND WAYFAIR AGREE TO GIVE UP ANY RIGHTS TO
LITIGATE CLAIMS IN A COURT OR BEFORE A JURY OR TO PARTICIPATE
IN A CLASS ACTION OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION WITH RESPECT TO A
CLAIM. OTHER RIGHTS THAT YOU WOULD HAVE IF YOU WENT TO COURT,
SUCH AS ACCESS TO DISCOVERY, ALSO MAY BE UNAVAILABLE OR
LIMITED IN ARBITRATION.
go on to specify, in relevant part, that:
Any dispute between you and Wayfair, its agents, employees,
officers, directors, principals, successors, assigns,
subsidiaries or affiliates (collectively for purposes of this
section, 'Wayfair') arising from or relating to these
termination or validity thereof, the relationships which
validity, scope or enforceability of this arbitration
provision (collectively, "Covered Disputes") will
be settled by binding arbitration. Prior to initiating any
arbitration, the initiating party will give the other party
at least 60-days' advanced written notice of its intent
to file for arbitration.
Id. The agreement then specifies how the parties
should notify one another of a dispute and sets out the
parameters for any eventual arbitration. See id.
Gorny fired off his scathing consumer survey, Wayfair
responded with an apology and a coupon. A couple months later
Gorny filed this suit on behalf of himself and others
similarly situated. He contends that he is one of many
customers who have received products from Wayfair that were
infested with bedbugs; he also contends that Wayfair has
ignored the problem. In his nine-count complaint, Gorny
alleges breach of contract and warranty (counts 1, 6, and 7),
negligence (count 2), and consumer fraud and deceptive trade
practices under Illinois and several other states' laws
(counts 3, 4, 5, and 8). ...