9th Circuit Backs Orrick Client 23andMe in Key Arbitration Case

August.23.2016

Backing an Orrick team’s legal arguments, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today found that class-action claims raised by customers of home genetic testing service provider 23andMe must be resolved in arbitration.

The appeals court sided with 23andMe’s arguments that its terms of service require any such claims to be adjudicated in arbitration, which results in the dismissal of a number of class-action complaints pending in the Northern District of California. In particular, the 9th Circuit rejected the plaintiffs’ contention that the arbitration provisions are unconscionable under California law. The decision upheld the district court, which likewise ruled in favor of Orrick client 23andMe.

“We hold that none of the challenged portions of the arbitration provision, alone or in concert, render the arbitration provision unconscionable under current California law,” Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote for the court in a published decision.

The appellate decision, which sets important precedent for enforcing arbitration provisions, stems from lawsuits against 23andMe over the marketing of its direct-to-consumer genetic testing service. The lawsuits asserted false advertising and breach of warranty-related claims against the company, which filed a motion to compel arbitration under its terms of service.

The Orrick team was led by partners Bob Varian and Jim Kramer, and associate Alex Talarides.