IF YOU OR WE HAVE ANY DISPUTE WITH OR CLAIM AGAINST THE OTHER (A “CLAIM”) ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING IN ANY WAY TO THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES OR THESE TERMS, AND THE CLAIM IS NOT RESOLVED BY CALLING OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT AT (800) 223-2336AND BY FOLLOWING THE INFORMAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE SET FORTH BELOW, YOU AND WE EACH AGREE TO RESOLVE SUCH DISPUTES THROUGH AN INDIVIDUAL BINDING ARBITRATION OR AN INDIVIDUAL ACTION IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT. Class arbitrations and class actions are not permitted, and a Claim may not be consolidated with any other person’s claim. You and we agree that the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act governs the interpretation and enforcement of this provision, and that you and we are each waiving the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action. You and we agree that any arbitrations between you and us will be subject to this Dispute Resolution; Arbitration Agreement Section and not to any prior arbitration agreement you had with us. This Dispute Resolution; Arbitration Agreement Section shall survive termination of these Terms.
- Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure
Before a party commences an arbitration or files a small claims court action with respect to a Claim, the party must first send to the other a written notice of dispute (“Notice”). A Notice from you to us must (1) be sent by certified mail; (2) be addressed to: Simon & Schuster LLC, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, Attn: Legal Department (the “Notice Address”); (3) contain your name, address, and email address; (4) describe the nature and basis of your Claim; (5) if you are submitting the Notice, include any relevant facts regarding your use of the products or services, including without limitation whether you have created an account; (6) specify the nature and basis of the specific relief sought, including the damages sought, if any, and a detailed calculation of them; and (7) include a personally signed statement from you (and not your counsel) verifying the accuracy of the contents of the Notice. The Notice must be individualized, meaning it can concern only your dispute and no other person’s dispute.
After receipt of a completed Notice, the parties shall engage in a good faith effort to resolve the dispute for a period of 60 days (which can be extended by agreement). You and we agree that, after receipt of the completed Notice, the recipient may request an individualized telephone or video settlement conference (which can be held after the 60-day period) and both parties will personally attend (with counsel, if represented). You and we agree that the parties (and counsel, if represented) shall work cooperatively to schedule the conference at the earliest mutually-convenient time and to seek to reach a resolution. If we and you do not reach an agreement to resolve the issues identified in the Notice within 60 days after the completed Notice is received (or a longer time if agreed to by the parties), you or we may commence an arbitration proceeding or a small claims court proceeding (if permitted by small claims court rules).
Compliance with this Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure section is a condition precedent to initiating arbitration. Any applicable limitations period (including statute of limitations) and any filing fee deadlines shall be tolled while the parties engage in the informal dispute resolution procedures set forth in this Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure Section. All of the requirements of the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure are essential so that you and we have a meaningful opportunity to resolve disputes informally. If any aspect of these requirements has not been met, a court of competent jurisdiction may enjoin the filing or prosecution of an arbitration. In addition, unless prohibited by law, the arbitration administrator may not accept, administer, assess, or demand fees in connection with an arbitration that has been initiated without completion of the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure. If the arbitration is already pending prior to the completion of the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Information Dispute Resolution Procedure, the arbitration shall be administratively closed. Nothing in this paragraph limits the right of a party to seek damages for non-compliance with the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure in arbitration.
Any such arbitration shall be governed by applicable rules of National Arbitration & Mediation (“NAM”) (including the Comprehensive Dispute Resolution Rules and Procedures and/or the Supplemental Rules for Mass Arbitration Filings, as applicable) (“NAM Rules”), as modified by this Dispute Resolution; Arbitration Agreement Section (the “Arbitration Agreement”), and will be administered by NAM. (If NAM is unavailable or unwilling to do so, another arbitration provider shall be selected by the parties that will do so, or if the parties are unable to agree on an alternative administrator, by the court pursuant to 9 U.S.C. §5.) The NAM Rules are available online at www.NAMADR.com, by calling NAM at 1-800-358-2550, or by requesting them in writing at the Notice Address. You may obtain a form to initiate arbitration at: https://www.namadr.com/content/uploads/2020/09/Comprehensive-Demand-for-Arb-revised-9.18.19.pdf or by contacting NAM.
You and we agree that the party initiating arbitration must submit a certification that they have complied with and completed the requirements referenced in the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure Section and that they are a party to the Arbitration Agreement enclosed with or attached to the demand for arbitration. The demand for arbitration and certification must be personally signed by the party initiating arbitration (and their counsel, if represented).
All issues, including the scope and enforceability of this Arbitration Agreement, are for the arbitrator to decide. The arbitrator may consider but shall not be bound by rulings in other arbitrations involving different customers. At the conclusion of the arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator shall issue a reasoned written decision sufficient to explain the essential findings and conclusions on which the award is based. The arbitrator’s decision is binding only between you and us and will not have any preclusive effect in another arbitration or proceeding that involves a different party. An arbitrator’s award that has been fully satisfied shall not be entered in any court.
As in court, you and we agree that any counsel representing a party in arbitration certifies when initiating and proceeding in arbitration that they are complying with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b), including certification that the claim or relief sought is neither frivolous nor brought for an improper purpose. The arbitrator is authorized to impose any sanctions under the NAM Rules, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, or applicable federal or state law, against all appropriate represented parties and counsel.
Except as expressly provided in this Arbitration Agreement, the arbitrator may grant any remedy, relief, or outcome that the parties could have received in court, including awards of attorneys’ fees and costs, in accordance with applicable law. Unless otherwise provided by applicable law, the parties shall bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs in arbitration unless the arbitrator awards sanctions or finds that either the substance of the claim, the defense, or the relief sought is frivolous or brought for an improper purpose (as measured by the standards set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)).
The payment of arbitration fees (the fees imposed by the arbitration administrator including filing, arbitrator, and hearing fees) will be governed by the applicable NAM Rules, unless you qualify for a fee waiver under applicable law.
In circumstances in which the NAM Rules provide for an in-person hearing, such hearing will take place in the U.S. county (or parish) of your residence, or otherwise in New York, New York. If the Mass Filing process described in the Severability Section is triggered, then the location of any hearing will be determined by the arbitrator.
- Discovery During Arbitration
The parties shall each be limited to a maximum of one (1) fact witness deposition per side, unless the arbitrator determines that more depositions are warranted based on the totality of circumstances, including the amount in controversy, the complexity of the factual issues, the number of parties and the diversity of their interests, and whether any or all of the claims appear, on the basis of the pleadings, to have sufficient merit to justify the time and expense associated with the requested discovery. Document requests shall be limited to documents that are directly relevant to the matter(s) in dispute or to its outcome; shall be reasonably restricted in terms of time frame, subject matter and persons or entities to which the requests pertain; shall not include broad phraseology such as “all documents directly or indirectly related to”; and shall not be encumbered with extensive “definitions” or “instructions.” The Arbitrator may edit or limit the number of document requests based on the totality of circumstances, including the factors listed above.
Electronic discovery, if any, shall be limited as follows. Absent a showing of compelling need: (i) electronic documents shall only be produced from sources used in the ordinary course of business, and not from backup servers, tapes or other media; (ii) the production of electronic documents shall normally be made on the basis of generally available technology in a searchable format that is usable by the requesting party and convenient and economical for the producing party; (iii) the parties need not produce metadata, with the exception of header fields for email correspondence; (iv) the description of custodians from whom electronic documents may be collected should be narrowly tailored to include only those individuals whose electronic documents may reasonably be expected to contain evidence that is material to the dispute; and (v) where the costs and burdens of e-discovery are disproportionate to the nature of the dispute or to the amount in controversy, or to the relevance of the materials requested, the arbitrator may either deny such requests or order disclosure on the condition that the requesting party advance the reasonable cost of production to the other side, subject to the allocation of costs in the final award.
Upon either party’s request, the arbitrator will issue an order requiring that confidential information of either party disclosed during the arbitration (whether in documents or orally) may not be used or disclosed except in connection with the arbitration or a proceeding to enforce the arbitration award and that any permitted court filing of confidential information must be done under seal to the furthest extent permitted by law.
In any arbitration between you and us, the defending party may, but is not obligated to, make a written settlement offer at any time before the evidentiary hearing or, if a dispositive motion is permitted, prior to the dispositive motion being granted. The amount or terms of any settlement offer may not be disclosed to the arbitrator until after the arbitrator issues an award on the claim. If the award is issued in the other party’s favor and is less than the defending party’s settlement offer or if the award is in the defending party’s favor, the other party must pay the defending party’s costs incurred after the offer was made, including any attorney’s fees. If any applicable statute or case law prohibits the shifting of costs incurred in the arbitration, then the offer in this provision shall serve to cease the accumulation of any costs to which the party bringing the claim may be entitled for the cause of action under which it is suing.
If, at any time, 25 or more claimants (including you) submit Notices or seek to file demands for arbitration raising similar claims against the other party or related parties by the same or coordinated counsel or entities, consistent with the definition and criteria of Mass Filings (“Mass Filing”) set forth in NAM’s Mass Filing Supplemental Dispute Resolution Rules and Procedures (“NAM’s Mass Filing Rules,” available at https://www.namadr.com/resources/rules-fees-forms/), you and we agree that the additional procedures set forth below shall apply. The parties agree that throughout this process, their counsel shall meet and confer to discuss modifications to these procedures based on the particular needs of the Mass Filing. The parties acknowledge and agree that by electing to participate in a Mass Filing, the adjudication of their dispute might be delayed. Any applicable limitations period (including statute of limitations) and any filing fee deadlines shall be tolled beginning when the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedures are initiated, so long as the pre-arbitration Notice complies with the requirements in the Mandatory Pre-Arbitration Notice and Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure Section, until your Claim is selected to proceed as part of a staged process or is settled, withdrawn, otherwise resolved, or opted out of arbitration.
Stage One: Counsel for the claimants and counsel for S&S shall each select 25 claims per side (50 claims total) to be filed and to proceed in individual arbitrations as part of a staged process. Each of these individual arbitrations shall be assigned to a different, single arbitrator unless the parties agree otherwise in writing. Any remaining claims shall not be filed or be deemed filed in arbitration, nor shall any arbitration fees be assessed in connection with those claims unless and until they are selected to be filed in individual arbitration proceedings as part of a staged process. After this initial set of staged proceedings is completed, the parties shall promptly engage in a global mediation session of all remaining claims with a retired federal or state court judge and S&S shall pay the mediator’s fee.
Stage Two: If the remaining claims are not resolved at this time, counsel for the claimants and counsel for S&S shall each select 50 claims per side (100 claims total) to be filed and to proceed in individual arbitrations as part of a second staged process, subject to any procedural changes the parties agreed to in writing. Each of these individual arbitrations shall be assigned to a different, single arbitrator unless the parties agree otherwise in writing. Any remaining claims shall not be filed or be deemed filed in arbitration, nor shall any arbitration fees be assessed in connection with those claims unless and until they are selected to be filed in individual arbitration proceedings as part of a staged process. After this second set of staged proceedings is completed, the parties shall promptly engage in a global mediation session of all remaining claims with a retired federal or state court judge and S&S shall pay the mediator’s fee.
Stage Three: If the remaining claims are not resolved at this time, counsel for the claimants and counsel for S&S shall each select 100 claims per side (200 claims total) to be filed and to proceed in individual arbitrations as part of a third staged process, subject to any procedural changes the parties agreed to in writing. Any remaining claims shall not be filed or be deemed filed in arbitration, nor shall any arbitration fees be assessed in connection with those claims unless and until they are selected to be filed in individual arbitration proceedings as part of a staged process. Following this third set of staged proceedings, counsel for claimants may elect to have the parties participate in a global mediation session of all remaining claims with a retired federal or state court judge.
If your claim is not resolved as part of the staged process identified above, either:
Option One: You and S&S may separately or by agreement, opt out of arbitration and elect to have your claim heard in court consistent with these Terms. You may opt out of arbitration by sending S&S your individual, personally signed notice of your intention to opt out by certified mail addressed to Simon & Schuster LLC, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, Attn: Legal Department. Such an opt out notice must be sent by you personally, and not by your agent, attorney, or anyone else purporting to act on your behalf. It must include a statement, personally signed by you, that you wish to opt out of arbitration within 30 days after the conclusion of Stage 3 or the elective mediation associated with Stage 3. S&S may opt your claim out of arbitration by sending an individual, personally signed notice of its intention to opt out to your counsel within 14 days after the expiration of your 30-day opt out period. Counsel for the parties may agree to adjust these deadlines.
Option Two: If neither you nor S&S elect to have your claim heard in court consistent with Option One, then you agree that your claim will be resolved as part of continuing, staged individual arbitration proceedings as set forth below. Assuming the number of remaining claims exceeds 200, then 200 claims shall be randomly selected (or selected through a process agreed to by counsel for the parties) to be filed and to proceed in individual arbitrations as part of a staged process. If the number of remaining claims is fewer than 200, then all of those claims shall be filed and proceed in individual arbitrations. Any remaining claims shall not be filed or be deemed filed in arbitration, nor shall any arbitration fees be assessed in connection with those claims unless and until they are selected to be filed in individual arbitration proceedings as part of a staged process. After each set of 200 claims are adjudicated, settled, withdrawn, or otherwise resolved, this process shall repeat consistent with these parameters. Counsel for the parties are encouraged to meet and confer, participate in mediation, and engage with each other and with NAM (including through a Procedural Arbitrator, as that term is used in the NAM Rules) to explore ways to streamline the adjudication of claims, increase the number of claims to proceed at any given time, promote efficiencies, conserve resources, and resolve the remaining claims.
A court of competent jurisdiction shall have the authority to enforce these Mass Filing provisions and, if necessary, to enjoin the mass filing, prosecution, or administration of arbitrations and the assessment of arbitration fees. If these additional procedures apply to your Claim, and a court of competent jurisdiction determines that they are not enforceable as to your Claim, then your Claim shall proceed in a court of competent jurisdiction consistent with these Terms.
You and S&S agree that we each value the integrity and efficiency of arbitration and wish to employ the process for the fair resolution of genuine and sincere disputes between us. You S&S acknowledge and agree to act in good faith to ensure the processes set forth herein are followed. The parties further agree that application of these Mass Filing procedures have been reasonably designed to result in an efficient and fair adjudication of such cases.
If any portion of this Arbitration Agreement is found to be void, invalid, or otherwise unenforceable, then that portion shall be deemed to be severable and, if possible, superseded by a valid, enforceable provision, or portion thereof, that matches the intent of the original provision, or portion thereof, as closely as possible. The other portions of this Arbitration Agreement shall continue to be enforceable and valid according to the terms contained herein.