Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clarke v. Alltran Financial, LP

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 22, 2018

Donovan J. Clarke, Plaintiff,
v.
Alltran Financial, LP f/k/a United Recovery Systems, LP, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOSEPH F. BIANCO United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Donovan J. Clarke (“plaintiff” or “Clarke”) brings this putative class action against Alltran Financial, LP, formerly known as United Recovery Systems, LP (“defendant” or “Alltran”) under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“the FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Clarke claims that Alltran violated the FDCPA by sending him an allegedly false and misleading debt collection letter relating to amounts owed on his Citibank credit card.

         Presently before the Court is Alltran's motion to compel arbitration on an individual basis under the credit card agreement between Clarke and Citibank-to which Alltran is not a signatory. The parties' dispute centers on whether Alltran, as a non-signatory, can compel arbitration under that agreement. Alltran asserts that it can compel arbitration (1) based on the plain language of the card agreement; (2) as a third-party beneficiary; (3) as Citibank's agent; and (4) under the doctrine of equitable estoppel. Clarke, in turn, disputes each of these grounds.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that Alltran can compel arbitration under the card agreement's plain language, and, alternatively, as Citibank's agent. Because the Court concludes that Alltran can compel arbitration on these grounds, it does not reach Alltran's additional grounds.

         The Court further concludes that whether arbitration must proceed on an individual basis under the card agreement's class action waiver is for the arbitrator to decide.

         Finally, the Court stays this action pending the arbitration.

         I. Background

         A. Facts

         The Court takes the following facts from the complaint, the Declaration of Terri Montgomery (“Montgomery Decl.”) filed in support of defendant's motion to compel arbitration, and the exhibits thereto.[1]

         In October 2014, Citibank issued plaintiff a credit card. (Montgomery Decl. ¶ 11.) In connection with obtaining the credit card, plaintiff received a card agreement that governed his account. (Id. ¶ 7.) The card agreement provided that Clarke agreed to be bound by its terms by either using the credit card or failing to cancel the credit card within thirty days of receiving it. (Montgomery Decl. Ex. 1 at 1.) The card agreement also contained a broad arbitration provision that stated, in relevant part:

PLEASE READ THIS PROVISION OF THE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY. IT PROVIDES THAT ANY DISPUTE MAY BE RESOLVED BY BINDING ARBITRATION. ARBITRATION REPLACES THE RIGHT TO GO TO COURT, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO A JURY AND THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION OR SIMILAR PROCEEDING.
Agreement to Arbitrate: Either you or we may, without the other's consent, elect mandatory, binding arbitration for any claim, dispute, or controversy between you and us (called “Claims”).
What Claims are subject to arbitration? All Claims relating to your account, a prior related account, or our relationship are subject to arbitration, including Claims regarding the application, enforceability, or interpretation of this Agreement and this arbitration provision. All Claims are subject to arbitration, no matter what legal theory they are based on or what remedy (damages, or injunctive or declaratory relief) they seek. This includes Claims based on contract, tort (including intentional tort), fraud, agency, your or our negligence, statutory or regulatory provisions, or any other sources of law; Claims made as counterclaims, cross-claims, third-party claims, interpleaders or otherwise; and Claims made independently or with other claims. A party who initiates a proceeding in court may elect arbitration with respect to any Claim advanced in that proceeding by any other party. Claims and remedies sought as part of a class action, private attorney general or other representative action are subject to arbitration on an individual (non-class, non-representative) basis, and the arbitrator may award relief only on an individual (non-class, non-representative) basis.
Whose Claims are subject to arbitration? Not only ours and yours, but also Claims made by or against anyone connected with us or you or claiming through us or you, such as a co-applicant, authorized user of your account, an employee, agent, representative, affiliated company, predecessor or successor, heir assignee, or trustee in bankruptcy.
Broadest Interpretation. Any questions about whether Claims are subject to arbitration shall be resolved by interpreting this arbitration provision in the broadest way the law will allow it to be enforced. This arbitration provision is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”).

(Id. at 9-10.)

         At some point before December 2015, plaintiff allegedly failed to make payments on his Citibank credit card (Compl. ¶¶ 13, 16), and Citibank “retained and authorized” Alltran to collect the amount owed (Montgomery Decl. ¶ 6). To that end, Alltran sent a debt collection letter to plaintiff on June 3, 2016. (See Compl. Ex. A.) Clarke ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.