After settling with the FTC last year, Ashley Madison is looking to invoke online arbitration rules to throw out 20 class action suits filed against the company.
In a motion to dismiss, Avid Life Media (now rebranded to ruby) lawyer Richard Cassetta argued that the plaintiffs had agreed to arbitrate their disputes when they created an account on the extramarital site.
The Canadian company said: “Plaintiffs each agreed when they created Ashley Madison accounts to be bound by the terms and conditions of the website.
“Those terms and conditions require plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims and prohibit plaintiffs from proceeding by class action.”
The company said its terms and conditions have included an agreement to arbitrate and a waiver of class action claims since 17th March, 2011.
For the three plaintiffs who opened accounts before this, the company said they are “each deemed to have accepted the amendments containing the arbitration clause and class action waiver” by continuing to use Ashley Madison.
According to Law.com, defending attorney Douglas Dowd said the company’s “shoddy record-keeping practices” meant it was difficult to confirm whether such agreements were signed by the plaintiffs, or if they even had an arbitration clause.
Having filed this initial motion on 15th November, the two lawyers were due in court on 6th January to arrange a court date for the hearing.
Last December, the Ashley Madison owner paid a $1.7m settlement to end an FTC and State Attorneys-General investigation into the Toronto company’s security procedures and consumer practices.
Plaintiffs in the case had originally sought $17.5m, but the remaining $15m has been suspended because of ruby’s apparent inability to pay.
Read more about the settlement here.