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. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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