South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Arbitration Agreement That Precludes Appeal Will Be Enforced
Description Appeals court affirmed that when one participates in a game, such as McDonald’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” game that the arbitration clause in the rules is binding even if the participant claims fraud and even if the participant did not read the rules.
Topic Alternate Dispute Resolution
Key Words Arbitration; Game; Contract; Fraud
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts McDonald’s has a game called “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” James obtained a game card from a McDonald’s. She thought she had the grand prize winner and should receive $1 million. She mailed the card to the redemption center but was told that she had a low-level prize card worth between $1 and $5. She sued, contending that McDonald’s fraudulently induced her to buy food so she could get a card and that the company cheated her out of the grand prize. The trial court compelled arbitration, as the game card stated that any disputes would be resolved by arbitration. James appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. When James participated in the game she agreed to the rules of the game, which included arbitration. The terms were explained on the game card. That constituted a contract between the parties. The fact that James did not read the rules does not matter. The arbitrator will decide the claim of fraud on the part of McDonald’s.

Citation James v. McDonald’s Corp, 417 F.3d 672 (7th Cir., 2005)

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