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Hudson v. Windows USA, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

April 5, 2017

ARCHIE & ANGELA HUDSON, on behalf of themselves and all of those similarly situated PLAINTIFFS
v.
WINDOWS USA, LLC, d/b/a WINDOWS USA & ALASKAN WINDOW SYSTEMS; BIG FOUR COMPANIES, INC.; and WELLS FARGO, N.A. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Daniel P. Jordan III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the Court on Defendant Wells Fargo National Bank's (“Wells Fargo”) Motion to Compel Arbitration and Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(3) [12] and Defendants Windows USA, LLC, d/b/a Windows USA and Alaskan Window Systems (“Windows USA”), and Big Four Companies, Inc.'s (“Big Four”) Joinder [17] in Wells Fargo's Motion to Compel Arbitration.[1] Because the Court concludes that the claims against Wells Fargo are within a valid arbitration agreement with a delegation clause, Wells Fargo's motion to compel arbitration is granted, but the Court denies the motion to the extent Wells Fargo seeks dismissal. As for Windows USA and Big Four's joinder in Wells Fargo's motion, the Court will set the matter for oral argument and seek additional briefing from the parties.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         This case arises from Plaintiffs Archie and Angela Hudson's purchase of new windows for their home from Defendant Windows USA. Big Four is allegedly the managing member of Windows USA. Compl. [1] ¶ 4. The purchase occurred following an in-home demonstration and was financed via a Visa Home Projects Program credit card issued by Defendant Wells Fargo.

         The Hudsons say Defendants' sales practices leading to the purchase and financing are deceptive, fraudulent, and unconscionable. They therefore filed this lawsuit on July 28, 2016, asserting statutory claims under the Truth in Lending Act and the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act as well as common-law claims for fraud, breach of contract, breach of implied warranties and covenants, and gross negligence. The Hudsons seek actual and punitive damages for themselves and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

         On September 16, 2016, Defendant Wells Fargo filed its Motion to Compel Arbitration [12]. Wells Fargo asserts that, pursuant to the terms of the credit-card application the Hudsons signed, they must arbitrate their claims against Wells Fargo. Defendants Windows USA and Big Four have joined in Wells Fargo's motion. Joinder [17]; Mem. [18]. Plaintiffs initially responded to the arbitration motion with a request for arbitration-related discovery, Pl.'s Mot. [15], but the Court denied that request and granted Plaintiffs additional time to respond to Defendants' motion and joinder. Order [26]. The matters raised have now been briefed, and the Court has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction.

         II. Analysis

         The sole issue before the Court is whether the Hudsons must arbitrate their claims against Defendants under the Wells Fargo credit-card application they admittedly Dated: December 9, 2015. Credit Card Account Application [12-1]. According to the Hudsons, they signed the first page of that ten-page document, but Windows USA's sales representative, Aaron Williams, never presented the other nine pages of the application and pressured the Hudsons to sign without reading the document.

         There is no dispute that the contract included an arbitration agreement, which is twice referenced just above the Hudsons' signatures:

(Image Omitted)

Id. at 1; see Id. at 2 (containing the Arbitration Agreement). Wells Fargo therefore seeks an order compelling arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act; Windows USA and Big Four join that motion.

         A. Motion to Compel Arbitration

         The Federal Arbitration Act provides as follows:

If any suit or proceeding be brought in any of the Courts of the United Sates upon any issue referable to arbitration under an agreement in writing for such arbitration, the court in which such suit is pending, upon being satisfied that the issue involved in such suit or proceeding is referable to arbitration under such an agreement, shall on application of one of the parties stay the trial of ...

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