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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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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