United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter arises from Plaintiff's claims for violations of
Fair Debt Collection Practices, as well as state law claims
of intentional breach of contract, and fraud. Defendant
Credit Acceptance has filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration in
this dispute .
and Procedural History
action was initially brought in the Monroe County Circuit
Court, and then removed to this Court . Though Plaintiff
served Defendant Credit Acceptance upon filing its State
Court Complaint, Plaintiff failed to summon Superman Auto to
the action. The Clerk noticed Plaintiff that process is
incomplete . Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
4, Plaintiff had 90 days to serve Defendant Superman Auto. At
this point, it has been 95 days since the Complaint was
removed to the District Court, and the Summons has not been
Credit Acceptance has answered and asserted its Motion to
Compel Arbitration . Instead of filing his response with
the Court, Plaintiff responded to Defendant's Motion via
letter, sent directly to Defendant and styled as a
“Motion to Compel Arbitration” and a
“Response to Answer and Affirmative Defenses.”
Defendant Credit Acceptance has filed a Motion to Strike
Plaintiff's unfiled responsive motions. Pursuant to Local
Rule 7(b)(2), responses must be filed with the Court. As the
Plaintiff has failed to present these motions upon the docket
of the Court, the Court does not recognize these pleadings.
Thus Defendant's Motion is DENIED as moot.
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provides that written
provisions for arbitration are “valid, irrevocable, and
enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in
equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C.
§ 2. The FAA “leaves no place for the exercise of
discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that
district courts shall direct the parties to proceed
to arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement
has been signed . . . absent a ground for revocation of the
contractual agreement.” Dean, Witter, Reynolds,
Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218, 105 S.Ct. 1238, 84
L.Ed.2d 158 (1985).
determining whether a party should be compelled to arbitrate,
this Court employs a two-step analysis. Sherer v. Green
Tree Servicing, LLC, 548 F.3d 379, 381 (5th Cir. 2008).
First, the Court must decide whether the parties have agreed
to arbitrate the dispute at issue. OPE Int'l, LP, v.
Chet Morrison Contractors, Inc., 258 F.3d 443, 445 (5th
Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). “This determination
involves two considerations: (1) whether there is a valid
agreement to arbitrate between the parties; and (2) whether
the dispute in question falls within the scope of that
arbitration agreement.” Id. (internal
quotations and citation omitted). Second, the Court must
assess “whether legal constraints external to the
parties' agreement foreclosed the arbitration of those
claims” at issue. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. v. Soler
Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc., 473 U.S. 614, 628, 105 S.Ct.
3346, 87 L.Ed.2d 444 (1985).
whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the dispute at issue,
Defendant argues that the agreement to arbitrate is valid.
Plaintiff electronically executed his signature upon the
Retail Installment Contract after purchasing the vehicle.
Moreover, Defendant alleges that by performing his
obligations under the contract, Plaintiff further ratified
his assent to the contract. Plaintiff has provided no
response, but it is clear that the parties executed a valid
agreement to arbitrate. Indeed, the Electronic Signatures in
Global and National Commerce Act established a general rule
of validity for electronic signatures in transactions in or
affecting interstate commerce. See 15 U.S.C. §
whether this dispute falls within the scope of the agreement,
the Court has reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint. In his
complaint, Plaintiff first alleges that he was not aware of,
nor did he give permission for the Defendant to install a GPS
sensor vehicle disabler device into his
vehicle. Additionally, though Plaintiff
“substantially” made installment payments as per
the terms of his agreement, he alleges that Seller regularly
and persistently made collection calls that he deems were
aggressive in nature.
the transaction for purchase, Plaintiff executed a disclosure
which provided that he understood that the “[d]ealer
has equipped the Vehicle with a vehicle starter interruption
device or a GPS system, or both.” The agreement goes on
to describe how the tracking system would allow the
“[d]ealer or any entity that purchases the Contract
from the dealer to locate the Vehicle in the event of default
or theft, ” and that Plaintiff would “understand
and agree that the vehicle may not start if
any amount due under [the] Contract is not received by Credit
Acceptance when it is due.” The agreement required that
Plaintiff “understand and agree that any claim, dispute
or controversy arising out of or related to the installation,
use, operation, and removal of the Device or the GPS between
myself, the Dealer and/or Credit Acceptance . . . shall be
fully resolved by binding arbitration in accordance with the
Arbitration Clause found in the Contract.” Finally, the
Plaintiff signed stating “I acknowledge that I have
read the Arbitration Clause and I understand all my rights,
including my right to reject the Arbitration Clause.”
the Seller gave multiple notices regarding the GPS device. It
also referred the Plaintiff to the Arbitration Agreement in
plain words, requiring him to sign not only the agreement,
but also an addendum attesting that he had read and
understood it. Plaintiff's failure to pay the full
amounts due, as well as the Defendant's efforts to
collect therefrom and using the allegedly illegally installed
device to do so, constitute disputes arising from the
transaction. Thus, the first step of the Court's analysis
falls in favor of Defendant, for the terms of the agreement
expressly require that “any controversy or claim
between You and Us arising out of or in any way relating to
this Contract” and “the purchase, sale, delivery,
set-up, [and] quality of the Vehicle must be arbitrated,
” and Plaintiff validly executed such agreement.
in reference to whether “legal constraints external to
the parties' agreement foreclosed the arbitration of
those claims” at issue, Plaintiff failed to respond to
Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration, and
consequently fails to challenge the legality of constraints
external to the parties' agreement.
the Court finds that the Parties had a valid agreement to
arbitrate certain contractual disputes and that all of
Plaintiff's claims fall within the scope of the
arbitration agreement. Furthermore, “[i]f all of the
issues raised before the district court are arbitrable,
dismissal is not inappropriate.” Fedmet Corp. v.
M/V Buyalyk, 194 F.3d 674, 678 (5th Cir. 1999); see
also Alford v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 975 F.2d
1161, 1164 (5th Cir. 1992) (citing Sea- Land Service,
Inc. v. Sea-Land of ...