ILNews

Court affirms arbitration dismissal

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld the dismissal with prejudice of a bank's application to confirm an arbitration award regarding credit card debt because the bank failed to follow the proper procedure outlined in the Federal Arbitration Act.

In MBNA America Bank v. Aaron Kay, No. 49A02-0711-CV-961, MBNA submitted a purported dispute over credit card debt by Aaron Kay to the National Arbitration Forum. Kay objected to the arbitration. The arbitrator found in favor of the bank and entered the award in Minnesota; Kay lived in Indiana.

MBNA filed an application to confirm the award in Marion Superior Court. Kay filed a response in opposition to the application. The trial court denied the application and dismissed it with prejudice.

MBNA appealed, arguing the court erred by dismissing the application with prejudice based on Kay's dispute in arbitration over the forum clause in the cardholder agreement. The bank also claimed challenges to the validity of a contract and an arbitration clause must be decided by the arbitrator and not the court.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision because the bank didn't petition any United States District Court for an order directing that a disputed arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in the written agreement for arbitration, as found in 9 U.S.C.A. Section 4, wrote Senior Judge Betty Barteau. Once a party objects to arbitration, a court has to decide if a valid arbitration agreement exists.

Because there was no federal court determination that a valid agreement existed, the arbitration award the bank was seeking confirmation on wasn't properly obtained, she wrote. The procedure outlined in the Federal Arbitration Act wasn't followed and as such, the court didn't err in dismissing MBNA's application to confirm the award.

Granting the dismissal with prejudice was not an error because it is generally recognized that a dismissal with prejudice is a dismissal on the merits and here the court reached the merits of whether the application should be granted, Senior Judge Barteau wrote.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial judge's order that MBNA correct any inaccuracy in Kay's credit record regarding the present dispute.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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