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Date: 02-17-2023

Case Style:

V.R. v. Roblox Corporation

Case Number: 22-CV-02716

Judge: Maxine M. Chesney

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francsico County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Anthony J. Weibell, Carmen Sobczak, Thomas R. Robert Wakefield

Description: San Francisco, California breach of contrct lawyer represented Plaintiff who sued Defendant on a beach of contract theory claiming to have suffered more than $75,000 in damages as a result.

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V.R., a minor, alleges that he, "under his own name and using his own money, made multiple in-game purchases in Roblox" (see FAC ¶ 10), "an online game platform" (see FAC ¶ 12), and that he now "regrets these purchases and wishes to obtain a full refund" (see FAC ¶ 45). V.R. alleges he is entitled to such a refund, either because his contract with Roblox is "voidable," in that, under California law, a minor is entitled to "disaffirm a contract" (see FAC ¶¶ 64-65, 67), or, alternatively, because his contract is "void," in that, under California law, a minor cannot enter into a contract "relating to any personal property not in the immediate possession or control of the minor" (see FAC ¶¶ 77-80).

Based on said allegations, V.R. asserts four Counts, titled, respectively, "Declaratory Judgment on Minor's Right to Disaffirm," "Declaratory Judgment on Minor's Inability to Contract for Personal Property Not in Their Immediate Possession or Control," "Violation of the California Business & Professional Code § 17200," and "Restitution or Unjust Enrichment." As relief, V.R. seeks a declaration of liability (see FAC ¶¶ 71, 85), restitution "in the amount already paid to [Roblox]" (see FAC ¶ 1), and an injunction requiring Roblox "to allow for refunds on all in-game purchases without restrictions" (see FAC ¶ 66).

By order filed September 29, 2022 ("September 29 Order"), the Court granted Roblox's motion to dismiss V.R.'s initial complaint, finding V.R.'s claims were not ripe for adjudication as he did not allege he had requested a refund and that his request was denied. The Court, however, afforded V.R. leave to amend, which option V.R. subsequently elected.

In seeking dismissal of the FAC, Roblox argues V.R. has failed to cure the deficiencies identified in the September 29 Order. For the reasons set forth below, the Court agrees.

In particular, as previously explained by the Court, "a district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to consider a case that is not ripe, i.e., one that is 'dependent on contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all.'" (See September 29 Order at 2:7-10 (quoting Trump v. New York, 141 S.Ct. 530, 535 (2020) (internal quotation and citation omitted).) Here, as in his initial complaint, V.R. does not allege he has requested a refund, much less that Roblox denied such request. Cf. Doe v. Epic Games, Inc., 435 F.Supp.3d 1024, 1044-45 (N.D. Cal. 2020) (holding minor's claim for refund presented "actual controversy," where defendant, prior to date complaint was filed, had received request for refund from plaintiff and, in response thereto, "indicated its unwillingness to honor plaintiff's disaffirmance and refund the [minor's] purchases").

In his opposition, V.R., in essence, acknowledges there was no case or controversy prior to the filing of the instant action, as he asserts that Roblox's obligation to provide him a refund "came due on May 5, 2022" (see Pl.'s Opp. at 15:10-11), the date on which he filed his initial complaint. As the Court noted in its prior order, however, V.R. cites no authority holding that the requisite case or controversy can be created in the first instance by the filing of a lawsuit.

In an apparent attempt to plead futility, and thus excuse his failure to request a refund prior to filing either his initial complaint or the FAC, V.R. alleges Roblox "does not operate a uniform policy of allowing minors who disaffirm their contract to receive a full refund" (see FAC ¶ 42) and, citing Reeves v. Niantic, Inc., 2022 WL 1769119 (N.D. Cal. May 31,2022), argues a case or controversy thus exists. Reeves, however, is readily distinguishable on its facts, in that the defendant therein had a "non-refundability policy."[2]See id. at *1. Here, by contrast, V.R. acknowledges in the FAC that the Roblox Terms of Use provide that "[a]ll payments for Robux[3] are final and not refundable, except as required by law" (see FAC ¶ 23 (emphasis added)), and that Roblox "knows that in the state of California, . . . the law allows minors to disaffirm contracts" (see FAC ¶ 20). Consequently, the FAC fails to allege facts to support a finding that any request for a refund would have been futile.

Outcome: Robbox's motion to dismiss granted.

02/17/2023 49 USCA Case Number 23-15216 9th Circuit for 48 Notice of Appeal to the Ninth Circuit filed by V.R.. (far, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/17/2023) (Entered: 02/17/2023)

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