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Inc. v. Fedex Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

June 25, 2015

U1IT4LESS, INC., d/b/a/NYBIKERGEAR, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDEX CORPORATION, FEDEX CORPORATE SERVICES, INC., and FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

KATHERINE B. FORREST, District Judge.

Plaintiff U1it4Less, Inc., an internet retailer of motorcycle related clothing and accessories, filed this action against various FedEx entities[1] on March 11, 2011 for claims related to its use of FedEx to ship merchandise throughout the United States and abroad. (ECF No. 1.)[2] On February 27, 2015, this action was reassigned to the undersigned. Before this Court is defendants' motion for partial summary judgment as to plaintiff's class claims on the grounds that plaintiff contractually waived its ability to participate in a class action against defendants. (ECF No. 156.) For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS defendants' motion.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[3]

Plaintiff entered into a "FedEx Pricing Agreement" with FedEx Services, who was acting as an agent for FedEx Ground, for shipment of its goods. (Defs' 56.1 ¶¶ 5, 11, ECF No. 159.) Plaintiff had an opportunity to review the Pricing Agreement before agreeing to it, and it admits that FedEx did not subject it to any undue pressure or high-pressure sales tactics. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 9.)

The FedEx Pricing Agreement plainly incorporated by reference the contractual terms and conditions contained in FedEx's Service Guide. (Id. ¶ 5.) Specifically, the Pricing Agreement provided:

2. Service Guide. Each shipment made with FedEx is subject to the country and origin location's terms and conditions of carriage and the FedEx Service Guide in effect at the time of shipment, which terms are incorporated into the Agreement by reference...

(Id.) Plaintiff subsequently entered into other FedEx Pricing Agreements that contained similar language incorporating the Service Guide. (Id. ¶ 6.) It also entered into a FedEx Ship Manager Software End-User License Agreement for the use of FedEx software in preparing its shipments; this contract similarly provided that the terms of carriage for any shipments would be governed by the FedEx Service Guide and tariff, which it incorporated by reference. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.) When plaintiff sent a shipment using FedEx's software, plaintiff received a receipt stating that the terms and conditions of the Service Guide governed the shipment. (Id. ¶ 17.) When plaintiff sent shipments using the FedEx website, rather than using the software, it saw a message stating, "By clicking on the Ship/Continue button, you agree to the FedEx Ship Manager at fedex.com Terms of Use and the FedEx terms of shipping in the applicable FedEx Service Guide...." (Id. ¶¶ 18-19.)

The FedEx Service Guide contains a section on the FedEx Ground Tariff, which included the following contractual class action waiver:

You agree that you will not sue FedEx Ground as a class plaintiff or class representative, join as a class member, or participate as an adverse party in any way in a class action lawsuit against FedEx Ground. Nothing in this paragraph, however, limits your rights to bring a lawsuit as an individual plaintiff.

(Id. ¶ 23.)

Between July 2008 and August 2010, plaintiff shipped over 5, 000 packages with FedEx. (Id. ¶ 20.) Approximately 395 of the shipments went from the United States to Canada. (Id. ¶ 21.) For some of those shipments to Canada, plaintiff received notices that FedEx would bill plaintiff duties and taxes because it was unable to collect duties and taxes from the Canadian recipient. (Id. ¶ 22.) These notices referred plaintiff to the language of the FedEx Ground Tariff in the Service Guide providing for such a policy. (Id.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment may not be granted unless a movant shows, based on admissible evidence in the record, "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating "the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). On summary judgment, the Court must "construe all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all inferences and resolving all ambiguities in its favor." Dickerson v. Napolitano, 604 F.3d 732, 740 (2d Cir. 2010).

Once the moving party has asserted facts showing that the nonmoving party's claims cannot be sustained, the opposing party must set out specific facts showing a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Price v. Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., 808 F.Supp.2d 670, 685 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); see also Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). "[A] party may not rely on mere speculation or conjecture as to the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary judgment, " because "[m]ere conclusory allegations or denials... cannot by themselves create a genuine issue of material fact where none would otherwise exist." Hicks v. Baines, 593 F.3d 159, 166 (2d Cir. 2010) (citations omitted); see also Price, 808 F.Supp.2d at 685 ("In seeking to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for ...


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