PLEASE READ THIS SECTION 19 (“ARBITRATION AGREEMENT”) CAREFULLY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS SECTION CONTAINS PROVISIONS GOVERNING HOW DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND US WILL BE RESOLVED. AMONG OTHER THINGS, THIS SECTION INCLUDES AN AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE, WHICH REQUIRES, WITH LIMITED EXCEPTIONS, THAT ALL DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND US BE RESOLVED BY BINDING AND FINAL ARBITRATION. THIS SECTION 19 ALSO CONTAINS A CLASS ACTION AND JURY TRIAL WAIVER. IN SOME COUNTRIES YOU MAY HAVE ADDITIONAL RIGHTS AND/OR ELEMENTS OF THIS ARBITRATION AGREEMENT MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU AS REQUIRED BY LAW.
Applicability of Arbitration Agreement. Subject to the terms of this Arbitration Agreement, you and we agree that any dispute, claim, or disagreement arising out of or relating in any way to your access to or use of the Services, any communications you receive, any products sold or distributed through the Services, or the Terms, including claims and disputes that arose between us before the effective date of the Terms (each, a “Dispute”) will be resolved by binding arbitration, using the English language, rather than in court, except that: (1) you and we may assert claims or seek relief in small claims court if such claims qualify and remain in small claims court; and (2) you or we may seek equitable relief in court for infringement or other misuse of intellectual property rights (such as trademarks, trade dress, domain names, trade secrets, copyrights, and patents). For purposes of this Arbitration Agreement, “Dispute” will also include disputes that arose or involve facts occurring before the existence of this or any prior versions of the Terms as well as claims that may arise after the termination of the Terms.
Informal Dispute Resolution. There may be instances when a Dispute arises between you and PH Forge. If that occurs, we are committed to working with you to reach a reasonable resolution. You and we agree that good faith informal efforts to resolve Disputes can result in a prompt, low‐cost and mutually beneficial outcome. You and we therefore agree that before either party commences arbitration against the other (or initiates an action in small claims court if a party so elects), we will personally meet and confer telephonically or via videoconference, in a good faith effort to resolve informally any Dispute covered by this Arbitration Agreement (“Informal Dispute Resolution Conference”). If you are represented by counsel, your counsel may participate in the conference, but you also agree to participate in the conference. The party initiating a Dispute must give notice to the other party in writing of its intent to initiate an Informal Dispute Resolution Conference (“Notice”), which shall occur within forty-five (45) days after the other party receives such Notice, unless an extension is mutually agreed upon by the parties in writing. Notice to us that you intend to initiate an Informal Dispute Resolution Conference should be sent by email to dispute@PH Forge.com, or by regular mail to the applicable address set forth in Section 18.6. The Notice must include: (1) your name, telephone number, mailing address, e‐mail address associated with your account (if you have one); (2) the name, telephone number, mailing address and e‐mail address of your counsel, if any; and (3) a description of your Dispute.
Waiver of Jury Trial. YOU AND WE HEREBY WAIVE ANY CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHTS TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A TRIAL IN FRONT OF A JUDGE OR A JURY. You and we are instead electing that all Disputes shall be resolved by arbitration under this Arbitration Agreement, except as specified in Section 19.1 above. There is no judge or jury in arbitration, and court review of an arbitration award is subject to very limited review.
Waiver of Class and Other Non-Individualized Relief. YOU AND WE AGREE THAT, EXCEPT AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 19.9, EACH OF US MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND NOT ON A CLASS, REPRESENTATIVE, OR COLLECTIVE BASIS, AND THE PARTIES HEREBY WAIVE ALL RIGHTS TO HAVE ANY DISPUTE BE BROUGHT, HEARD, ADMINISTERED, RESOLVED, OR ARBITRATED ON A CLASS, COLLECTIVE, REPRESENTATIVE, OR MASS ACTION BASIS. ONLY INDIVIDUAL RELIEF IS AVAILABLE, AND DISPUTES OF MORE THAN ONE CUSTOMER OR USER CANNOT BE ARBITRATED OR CONSOLIDATED WITH THOSE OF ANY OTHER CUSTOMER OR USER. Subject to this Arbitration Agreement, the arbitrator may award declaratory or injunctive relief only in favor of the individual party seeking relief and only to the extent necessary to provide relief warranted by the party’s individual claim. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to, nor shall it, affect the terms and conditions under Section 19.9. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Arbitration Agreement, if a court decides by means of a final decision, not subject to any further appeal or recourse, that the limitations of this Section are invalid or unenforceable as to a particular claim or request for relief (such as a request for public injunctive relief), you and we agree that that particular claim or request for relief (and only that particular claim or request for relief) shall be severed from the arbitration and may be litigated only in the courts provided for under Section 18.4. All other Disputes shall be arbitrated or litigated in small claims court. This subsection does not prevent you or us from participating in a class-wide settlement of claims.
Rules and Forum. The Terms evidence a transaction involving interstate commerce; and notwithstanding any other provision herein with respect to the applicable substantive law, the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., will govern the interpretation and enforcement of this Arbitration Agreement and any arbitration proceedings. If the Informal Dispute Resolution Process described above does not resolve satisfactorily within sixty (60) days after receipt of Notice, you and we agree that either party shall have the right to finally resolve the Dispute through binding arbitration. The arbitration will be conducted by American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”), an established alternative dispute resolution provider, under its rules, including Consumer Arbitration Rules (the “AAA Rules”), then effect, unless otherwise required by law. AAA’s rules are also available at https://adr.org/consumer, or by calling 1-800-778-7879. For all actions under the AAA Rules, the proceedings may be filed where your residence is, or in New York, New York, and any in-person hearings will be conducted at a location which is reasonably convenient to both parties taking into account their ability to travel and other pertinent circumstances. If AAA is not available to arbitrate, the parties will select an alternative arbitral forum. Your responsibility to pay any AAA fees and costs will be solely as set forth in the applicable AAA rules.
19.6 Arbitrator. The arbitrator will be either a retired judge or an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York, and will be selected by the parties from the AAA roster of consumer dispute arbitrators. If the parties are unable to agree upon an arbitrator within thirty-five (35) days of delivery of the Request, then AAA will appoint the arbitrator in accordance with the applicable AAA rules, provided that if the Batch Arbitration process under Section 19.9 is triggered, AAA will appoint the arbitrator for each batch.
19.7 Authority of Arbitrator. The arbitrator shall have exclusive authority to resolve any Dispute, including, without limitation, disputes arising out of or related to the interpretation or application of the Arbitration Agreement, including the enforceability, revocability, scope, or validity of the Arbitration Agreement or any portion of the Arbitration Agreement, except for the following: (1) all Disputes arising out of or relating to Section 19.4, including any claim that all or part of Section 19.4 is unenforceable, illegal, void or voidable, or that Section 19.4 has been breached, shall be decided by a court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator; (2) except as expressly contemplated in Section 19.9, all Disputes about the payment of arbitration fees shall be decided only by a court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator; (3) all Disputes about whether either party has satisfied any condition precedent to arbitration shall be decided only by a court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator; and (4) all Disputes about which version of the Arbitration Agreement applies shall be decided only by a court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator. The arbitration proceeding will not be consolidated with any other matters or joined with any other cases or parties, except as expressly provided in Section 19.9. The arbitrator shall have the authority to grant motions dispositive of all or part of any Dispute. The arbitrator shall issue a written award and statement of decision describing the essential findings and conclusions on which the award is based, including the calculation of any damages awarded. The award of the arbitrator is final and binding upon you and us. Judgment on the arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction.
Attorneys’ Fees and Costs. The parties shall bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs in arbitration unless the arbitrator finds that either the substance of the Dispute or the relief sought in the Request was frivolous or was brought for an improper purpose (as measured by the standards set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)). If you or we need to invoke the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction to compel arbitration, then the party that obtains an order compelling arbitration in such action shall have the right to collect from the other party its reasonable costs, necessary disbursements, and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in securing an order compelling arbitration. The prevailing party in any court action relating to whether either party has satisfied any condition precedent to arbitration, including the Informal Dispute Resolution Process, is entitled to recover their reasonable costs, necessary disbursements, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Batch Arbitration. To increase the efficiency of administration and resolution of arbitrations, you and we agree that in the event that there are one hundred (100) or more individual Requests of a substantially similar nature filed against us by or with the assistance of the same law firm, group of law firms, or organizations, within a thirty (30) day period, AAA shall (1) administer the arbitration demands in batches of 100 Requests per batch (plus, to the extent there are less than 100 Requests left over after the batching described above, a final batch consisting of the remaining Requests); (2) appoint one arbitrator for each batch; and (3) provide for the resolution of each batch as a single consolidated arbitration with one set of filing and administrative fees due per side per batch, one procedural calendar, one hearing (if any) in a place to be determined by the arbitrator, and one final award (“Batch Arbitration”).
30-Day Right to Opt Out. You have the right to opt out of the provisions of this Arbitration Agreement by sending written notice of your decision to opt out to the applicable address set forth in Section 18.6, within thirty (30) days after first becoming subject to this Arbitration Agreement. Your notice must include your name and address, the email address you used to set up your Account (if you have one), and an unequivocal statement that you want to opt out of this Arbitration Agreement. If you opt out of this Arbitration Agreement, all other parts of these Terms will continue to apply to you. Opting out of this Arbitration Agreement has no effect on any other arbitration agreements that you may currently have, or may enter in the future, with us.
Invalidity, Expiration. Except as provided in Section 19.9, if any part or parts of this Arbitration Agreement are found under the law to be invalid or unenforceable, then such specific part or parts shall be of no force and effect and shall be severed and the remainder of the Arbitration Agreement shall continue in full force and effect. You further agree that any Dispute that you have with us as detailed in this Arbitration Agreement must be initiated via arbitration within the applicable statute of limitation for that claim or controversy, or it will be forever time barred. Likewise, you agree that all applicable statutes of limitation will apply to such arbitration in the same manner as those statutes of limitation would apply in the applicable court of competent jurisdiction.
Modification. Notwithstanding any provision in the Terms to the contrary, we agree that if we make any future material change to this Arbitration Agreement, it will notify you. Unless you reject the change within thirty (30) days of such change becoming effective by writing to us at the applicable address set forth in Section 18.6, your continued use of the Services, including the acceptance of products and services offered on or through the Services, following the posting of changes to this Arbitration Agreement constitutes your acceptance of any such changes. Changes to this Arbitration Agreement do not provide you with a new opportunity to opt out of the Arbitration Agreement if you have previously agreed to a version of the Terms and did not validly opt out of arbitration. If you reject any change or update to this Arbitration Agreement, and you were bound by an existing agreement to arbitrate Disputes arising out of or relating in any way to your access to or use of the Services, any communications you receive, any products sold or distributed through the Services or the Terms, the provisions of this Arbitration Agreement as of the date you first accepted the Terms (or accepted any subsequent changes to the Terms) remain in full force and effect. We will continue to honor any valid opt outs of the Arbitration Agreement that you made to a prior version of the Terms.