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Patrick v. Dixie Imports, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

December 18, 2017

ASHLEY PATRICK, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DIXIE IMPORTS, INC., Defendant-Appellant.

         CIVIL APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CV2016-10-2255

          Elizabeth A. Wells, Ronald L. Burdge, Scarlett M. Steuart, 8250 Washington Village Drive, Dayton, Ohio 45458, for plaintiff-appellee

          Richard L. Hurchanik, Timothy R. Evans, 110 North Third Street, Hamilton, Ohio 45011, for defendant-appellant

          OPINION

          HENDRICKSON, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Dixie Imports, Inc., appeals from a decision of the Butler County Court of Common Pleas denying its motion to stay proceedings pending arbitration in a suit brought by plaintiff-appellee, Ashley Patrick. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

         {¶ 2} On October 17, 2016, Patrick filed a complaint against Dixie Imports, alleging violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, violation of the Motor Vehicle Sales Rule, and violations of the FTC Used Car Window Sticker Rule. According to the allegations set forth in Patrick's complaint, Patrick entered into a contract with Dixie Imports on March 16, 2016, to purchase a used 2008 BMW X5 motor vehicle. At the time of purchase, Patrick signed a Buyer's Guide, a Retail Purchase Agreement (Buyers Order), and Retail Installment Sale Contract.

         {¶ 3} The Retail Purchase Agreement set forth that the vehicle was being sold "as-is" and that Dixie Imports "disclaimed] all warranties, express and implied, including any implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose." The Retail Purchase Agreement also contained a box that provided "IF MARKED, PLEASE SEE ATTACHED ARBITRATION AGREEMENT - FEX-f44 Formerly 818199-14462." This box was not marked. Finally, the Retail Purchase Agreement contained an integration clause, which provided:

The front and back of this Agreement and any documents which are part of this transaction or incorporated herein comprise the entire agreement affecting this Retail Purchase Agreement (Buyers Order) and no other agreement or understanding of any nature concerning the same has been made or entered into, or will be recognized. I have read the terms and conditions of this Agreement, including the terms and conditions that appear on the reverse side, and agree to them as if they were printed above my signature. I further acknowledge receipt of a copy of this Agreement.

         The Retail Purchase Agreement was signed by Patrick and an authorized representative of

         Dixie Imports.

         {¶ 4} Patrick also signed a five-page Retail Installment Sales Contract, which provided that Patrick was purchasing the motor vehicle on credit. The Retail Installment Sales Contract included an arbitration clause on page five of the agreement, which stated:

Any claim or dispute, whether in contract, tort, statute or otherwise (including the interpretation and scope of this Arbitration Clause, and the arbitrability of the claim or dispute), between you and us or our employees, agents, successors or assigns, which arises out of or relates to your credit application, purchase or condition of this vehicle, this contract or any resulting transaction or relationship (including any such relationship with third parties who do not sign this contract) shall, at your or our election, be resolved by neutral, binding arbitration and not by a court action.

         The Retail Installment Contract also contained a provision informing Patrick that Dixie Imports, as the seller, "may assign this contract and retain its right to receive a part of the Finance Charge" associated with the financing of the vehicle. The contract then provided that Dixie Imports assigned its interest in the contract to G.O.L.F. "without or with limited recourse."

         {¶ 5} Patrick initialed all five pages of the Retail Installment Sales Contract and signed the contract on page ...


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