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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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