— A Walmart Auto Care Center lawsuit is on hold as Walmart appeals a district court ruling that denied Walmart's motion to compel arbitration.
The Walmart Auto Care Center class action lawsuit was filed by a customer who purchased tires from Walmart's website in July 2018.
Those tires were installed at a Walmart Auto Care Center where the plaintiff separately purchased the Walmart lifetime tire balance and rotation service at an additional cost.
In April 2020, the plaintiff visited a Texas Walmart Auto Care Center to have the tires rotated and balanced, but he was denied service because the Center was shut down due to COVID-19.
"Our people are working hard to have every part of the store ready to serve customers. To help support our people and focus on the most critical areas of the store right now, we will temporarily shut down our Auto Care Centers to allow those associates to focus on stocking and cleaning in the rest of the store." — Walmart's website / Message posted on March 18, 2020
The plaintiff says he sought service at other Auto Care Centers in Texas, Arizona and California and was also denied service at those locations.
According to the plaintiff, he filed the Auto Care Center lawsuit because Walmart's representations about lifetime tire services were false and misleading.
Walmart Auto Care Center Lawsuit: Arbitration Denied
But the lawsuit counters the court cannot compel arbitration because the claim at issue arises from an in-store purchase of tire services, not the purchase of the tires themselves.
The plaintiff does not dispute the arbitration clause covers his purchase of tires on Walmart.com. But he argues it has nothing to do with his later separate purchase of the tire service agreement from an Auto Care Center.
Judge Jennifer L. Thurston found both parties already agree the plaintiff did not sign any other contract or document with a mandatory arbitration clause when he purchased the tire services agreement.
According to the judge, no valid agreement exists between Walmart and the plaintiff and arbitration cannot be compelled.
The lawsuit has been stayed pending the result of Walmart's appeal of the ruling.
The Walmart Auto Care Center lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California: Kevin Johnson, v. Walmart, Inc.
The plaintiff is represented by Yoon Law, APC.