Parties can't pick certain provisions to enforce

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The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed an issue of first impression today regarding whether a person could seek to enforce rights under a vehicle purchasing agreement he didn't sign but then disavow other provisions set forth in the same document.

The issue in TWH, Inc. d/b/a Tom Wood Honda v. Jennifer Binford, No. 48A02-0805-CV-441, is whether Jennifer Binford was required to arbitrate her complaint of breach of warranty and fraud against the car dealer. Binford bought a used car for her son, Aaron. She was the only one to sign the purchase agreement with Tom Wood, which included an arbitration provision. Both she and Aaron signed the retail installment contract, which didn't have an arbitration provision.

After Aaron had some problems with the car, Binford filed her complaint; Tom Wood filed a motion to compel arbitration. Aaron filed a petition for permissive joinder, which was granted. The trial court denied Tom Wood's motion to compel, finding the company failed to get Aaron's signature on the purchase agreement that would mandate arbitration of the dispute.

The Court of Appeals agreed with Tom Wood's argument that because Aaron's claims are the same or similar to those of his mother and relate to the car purchase, he is bound by the arbitration clause and can't selectively choose the rights he wants to enforce and then disregard other provisions in the same document.

Aaron didn't initially sign the purchase agreement, but he then petitioned for permissive joinder since he is the co-purchaser of the car. As such, it constitutes a judicial admission and binds him to the arbitration provision in the purchase agreement, wrote Judge Edward Najam. Binford and her son can't seek affirmative relief from the transaction and disavow the arbitration provision in the purchase agreement. Tom Wood has proven that the dispute is the type of claim the parties agreed to arbitrate, so the appellate court reversed the denial of the motion to compel arbitration and remanded with instructions for the trial court to grant Tom Wood's motion and to enter judgment accordingly.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues