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. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

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  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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