- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Arbitration
- Date Filed: 12-30-2022
- Case #: 21-35530
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Berson, C.J.; Christen, C.J.; & Block, D.J.
- Full Text Opinion
Respondent appealed the district court's denial of their motion to compel arbitration in a case involving prepaid release cards that were given to inmates who were released from incarceration. Respondent assigned error to the district court's finding that no valid contract had been formed. On appeal, Respondent argued that Petitioners assented to the terms of the agreement by accepting and using the release card. In response, Petitioners argued that no contract was formed because they did not have any meaningful choice in accepting and using the prepaid release cards. In Washington, a contract is formed when both parties accept services after they have a reasonable opportunity to reject [the] offered services. Jones v. Brisbin, 247 P.2d 891, 894 (Wash. 1952). The Court agreed with Petitioners and reasoned that the jail required that Petitioners accept the release cards in order to recover their own money, that the terms of the release card agreement were ambiguous, and that Petitioners had to use the cards quickly in order to avoid Respondent's fees. Given the circumstances, Petitioners did not assent to the contract and therefore no contract was formed. Accordingly, arbitration could not be compelled. Affirmed.