Bankruptcy Firm Says It Faced Discrimination

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A credit card processor closed a bankruptcy law firm’s account as a business supposedly “prohibited” by its contract, Shierkatz RLLP claims in a class action.
     “The complaint is intended to apply civil rights law to a tech company that is in blatant violation of civil rights of 27 categories of person who are being arbitrarily being discriminated against because of their lawful occupation,” William McGrane, an attorney for Shierkatz with McGrane LLP, said in a phone interview.
     Shierkatz filed the superior court class action on April 17 against Square Inc., a Delaware credit card company that allegedly describes its service is “fast and free – no commitments or long-term contracts.”
     Square allegedly revealed last week that it was terminating an account that Shierkatz opened nearly two years ago pursuant to supposed prohibitions in Square’s seller agreement.
     The contract section in question purportedly has customers confirm that they will not accept payment in connection with business activities from bankruptcy attorneys, debt-collection agencies, credit-counseling services, bill-payment services and automated fuel dispensers.
     Square also lists “drug paraphernalia” and “occult materials” among its list of 28 prohibited business categories, according to the complaint, an amended version of which it filed Monday.
     Shierkatz notes that, with the exception of the prohibition on accepting payment in connection with illegal business activity, “each and every other category” of supposedly prohibited businesses is either entirely vague or constitutes an entirely lawful occupation.
     When Shierkatz opened its account, the only way to access the seller agreement was by clicking a hyperlink at the bottom of Square’s website labeled “Legal,” according to the complaint.
     The firm notes that clicking this link was not required to open an account.
     Square allegedly changed its website later to “inferentially require” new customers to click on a hyperlink called “Seller’s Agreement.”
     Shierkatz claims there is “absolutely nothing” to suggest anyone who signed up when it did must click on “Legal,” or which otherwise suggests that a person who clicks on “Sign Up” has thereby agreed to whatever separate content might have been accessed by first clicking on “Legal.”
     For those who signed when Shierkatz did, there is “absolutely nothing to suggest that whatever separate content may be viewed by clicking on ‘Seller’s Agreement’ is at variance with the earlier written representations that ‘Signing up for Square is fast and free – no commitments or long-term contracts,'” according to the suit.
     Shierkatz says the company’s warranty moreover “entirely misrepresents the meaning and intent of the sixty-four paragraph long Square seller’s agreement.”
     The seller agreement is, “quite literally, a commitment” to, among other things, forever waive the right to jury trial or any access to the courts, Shierkatz claims.
     Shierkatz wants to represent a class that includes any people or companies whose accounts Square has similarly terminated under the seller agreement, though the business in question has no involvement in any “illegal activity or goods.”
     In addition to damages, the class seeks an injunction against Square for violations of California’s Unruh civil rights law and unfair competition law.
     A Square representative told Courthouse News, “This case is completely without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously against it.”
     San Francisco County Superior Court

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