The updated lawsuit against online wallet PayPal that originated with the unilateral seizure of thousands of dollars from an account owned by Chris Moneymaker has again expanded. The international class action now names online giant Amazon.com as well as PayPal as defendants. The Bensamochan Firm announced today that the “mass arbitration initiative” has been filed against the two firms. The action was filed in Singapore.
The Bensamochan Firm is joined in bringing the action by Schreiber & Schreiber Inc. and other law firms as counsel for the plaintiffs, using a blockchain-based approach and an account “manager” through which alleged aggrieved plaintiffs — from any country and for any amount — can assign their rights to the manager and have their claims pursued.
A press statement issued in conjunction with the action’s filing and the addition of Amazon asserts, “The practice of dominating digital platforms to unilaterally seize users’ money due to an alleged policy violation without due process has been going on for years. Despite the mounting complaints, those platforms have been maintaining the practice, partially due to the cost and difficulty for any small balance
users to initiate an arbitration proceeding against those platforms.”
The press statement also mentioned another blockchain-based action brought in 2021 by Liti Capital SA, a Swiss blockchain-based litigation funding provider, against Binance. The group behind the PayPal/Amazon lawsuit expressed the belief that blockchain technology could change the way class actions and mass arbitration against large digital platforms are litigated.
Four thousand plaintiffs and counting
The action already includes more than 4,000 individual plaintiffs with aggregate claims of well over $7 million. One of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, Eric Bensamochan, previously told Poker.org that at least 10,000 plaintiffs are eventually expected to join the action. Counsel for plaintiffs alleging unlawful and unilateral seizures by PayPal or Amazon are being directed to two websites, www.paypalclassaction.net and Justitiadao.com, where they can learn about the action and potentially join the plaintiff class.
As to why Amazon.com was added to a lawsuit that at first was only planned to target PayPal, Bensamochan told Poker.org, “In working with our partner firms, we uncovered similar conduct by Amazon.com whereby Amazon is seizing funds from its sellers for alleged violations of Amazon’s internal policies. The Bensamochan Firm and our partners take any theft of people’s hard-earned money very seriously and we will continue to bring the fight to those who think they can operate this way with impunity. We also want to continue to thank Chris Moneymaker, Lena Evans, and everyone in the community who have shown us support.”
Moneymaker is no longer officially a part of the original lawsuit, after PayPal refunded the confiscated $12,000 in the face of mounting publicity. However, Poker League of Nations founder Lena Evans soon replaced Moneymaker as the initial action’s lead plaintiff while alleging that her accounts were similarly and illegally seized. PayPal later succeeded in combining that U.S.-based case with another action, though the company is also facing the fallout from an accidental policy leak — later denied and retracted by PayPal — that wiped tens of billions in value from the company’s market cap.
Featured image source: PayPal