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Williams v. Cavalry SPV I LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 19, 2019

KELLEY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAVALRY SPV I LLC, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Christopher A. Boyko, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #15) of Cavalry Defendants to Compel Arbitration and the Motion (ECF DKT #16) of Defendants Lloyd & McDaniel PLC, James M. Lloyd, Michael J. Linden, Megan Urban and Gregory L. Crutcher to Compel Arbitration. For the following reasons, the Motions to Compel Arbitration are denied. Also, the Motion (ECF DKT #19) of Plaintiff Kelley Williams to Conduct Limited Discovery necessary to submit her opposition to the Motions to Compel Arbitration is denied as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The captioned matter originated in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and was removed on June 29, 2018, on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act when they filed a complaint against her in Parma Municipal Court in an attempt to collect on a consumer debt.

         Defendant Cavalry SPV I LLC and its related entities move to compel Plaintiff to arbitrate her claims. Plaintiff applied for a JCPenney-branded credit card and her application was approved on July 28, 2003. The credit card agreement contained an arbitration provision. After a merger, GE Money Bank issued Plaintiff an amended credit card agreement which also included an arbitration provision. GE Money Bank became GE Capital Retail Bank and a new credit card agreement was issued in 2012. GE Capital Retail Bank became Synchrony Bank. Synchrony's records show that the last purchase on Plaintiff's account was on or about March 19, 2013. The account was “charged-off” due to non-payment and the account was sold to Cavalry SPV I LLC on August 23, 2016. At all times, the credit card agreements required Plaintiff to assent to arbitration. Synchrony has no record of a notice from Plaintiff exercising her right to reject the arbitration provision.

         The 2012 amended credit card agreement (ECF DKT #18-1) provides that “by opening or using your account, you agree to the terms of the entire Agreement.” Additionally:

Parties to this Agreement. This Agreement applied to each accountholder approved on the account and each of you is responsible for paying the full amount due, no matter which one uses the account. We may treat each of you as the accountholder and may refer to each of you as “you” or “your”. GE Capital Retail Bank may be referred to as “we”, “us” or “our”.

         Further:

If either you or we make a demand for arbitration, you and we must arbitrate any dispute or claim between you or any other user of your account, and us, our affiliates, agents and/or J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. if it relates to your account...

         Moreover, in the 2012 credit card agreement, Plaintiff agreed that GE Capital Retail Bank “may sell, assign, or transfer any or all of [its] rights or duties under this Agreement or [ ] account, including [its] rights to payments.”

         Cavalry SPV I LLC contends that it purchased and took assignment of Plaintiff's account and all of the Bank's rights associated with her account. Cavalry SPV I LLC insists that it stands in the shoes of the creditor bank. The other Cavalry Defendants are related entities and the Lloyd Defendants are lawyers and agents of Cavalry. Thus, Defendants argue that they are empowered to enforce the arbitration provision against Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff does not oppose the Motions to Compel Arbitration on their merits at this juncture, but seeks leave to conduct discovery in order to formulate a response.

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) 9 U.S.C. ...


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