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Winton v. Trans Union, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

August 27, 2019

SOLDON WINTON
v.
TRANS UNION, LLC, et al.

          MEMORANDUM

          BARTLE, J.

         Plaintiff Soldon Winton (“Winton”) brings this action for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq., against defendants Trans Union, LLC, Department Stores National Bank, First Premier Bank, OneMain Financial Group, LLC (“OneMain”), PAAC Transit Division Federal Credit Union, Pittsburgh Central Federal Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, and Citibank, N.A. Before the court is the motion of OneMain to compel arbitration and to stay discovery. Also before the court is the cross-motion of Winton to require OneMain to initiate arbitration and to bear all costs of arbitration.

         I

         The facts alleged in the complaint are as follows. On September 15, 2015, Winton entered into a loan agreement with OneMain for a loan in the amount of $5, 220.[1] On May 6, 2016, Winton filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. On November 22, 2016, that court entered an order discharging Winton's debts to OneMain and other creditors.

         Sometime in 2018, Winton obtained his credit report from Trans Union. According to Winton, that report continued to include as outstanding his debt owed to OneMain without any notation that these debts had been discharged in bankruptcy. Thereafter, Winton submitted a letter to Trans Union disputing what he characterizes as “Errant Trade Lines.” Notwithstanding Winton's efforts, Trans Union and OneMain have failed to note the bankruptcy discharge and continue to report the debts as outstanding.

         On December 27, 2018, Winton filed this action against OneMain and the other defendants for violations of the FCRA. On June 10, 2019, OneMain moved to compel arbitration and to stay this action pending arbitration. Thereafter, Winton filed a response in opposition to OneMain's motion to compel arbitration or, in the alternative, a cross-motion to require OneMain to initiate arbitration and to bear all costs of arbitration. After a status conference, the court granted the parties a period of time to engage in discovery related to the costs of arbitration and Winton's ability to pay such costs. Thereafter, Winton filed a supplemental brief in support of his motion to require OneMain to initiate arbitration and to bear the costs of arbitration.

         II

         In support of its motion to compel arbitration, OneMain has submitted the agreement governing the loan made to Winton by OneMain. The relevant terms of the loan agreement are as follows:

         C. ARBITRATION AGREEMENT AND WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL

DESCRIPTION OF ARBITRATION. Arbitration is a method of resolving claims and disputes between parties without having to file a lawsuit in court. It is a process in which both sides present their case to a neutral third person-the arbitrator-instead of a judge or jury, to resolve the dispute. UNDER THIS AGREEMENT, BOTH LENDER AND I ARE VOLUNTARILY WAIVING ANY RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL OR JUDGE TRIAL OF ALL CLAIMS AND DISPUTES COVERED BY THIS ARBITRATION AGREEMENT AND WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL (“this Arbitration Agreement”) TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
CLAIMS AND DISPUTES COVERED. Except for those claims mentioned below under the heading “MATTERS NOT COVERED BY ARBITRATION, ” Lender and I agree that either party may elect to resolve all claims and disputes between us (“Covered Claims”) by BINDING ARBITRATION. This includes, but is not limited to, all claims and disputes arising out of, in connection with, or relating to:
This Agreement with Lender; any previous retail credit agreement (“Retail Contract”) assigned to Lender and any previous loan from or assigned to Lender, whether any of the foregoing may be open-end or closed-end; all documents, promotions, advertising, actions, or omissions relating to this or any previous loan or Retail Contract made by or assigned to Lender; any insurance product, service contract, membership plan or warranty purchased in connection with this or any previous loan or Retail Contract made by or assigned to Lender; any product or service offered to Lender's customers with any assistance or involvement by Lender; whether the claim or dispute must be arbitrated; the validity and enforceability of this Arbitration Agreement (except as expressly set forth in subsection G. below) and the Agreement, my understanding of them, or any defenses as to the validity and enforceability of this Arbitration Agreement and the Agreement; any negotiations between Lender and me; the closing, servicing, collecting, or enforcement of any transaction covered by this Arbitration Agreement; any allegation of fraud or misrepresentation; any claim based on or arising under any federal, state, or local law, statute, regulation, ordinance, or rule; any claim based on state or federal property laws; any claim based on the improper disclosure of any information protected under state or federal consumer privacy laws; any claim or dispute based on any alleged tort (wrong), including intentional torts; any claim for damages or attorneys' fees; and any claim for injunctive, declaratory, or equitable relief.
OTHER IMPORTANT AGREEMENTS . Lender and I agree:
G. This Arbitration Agreement applies even if my loan has been cancelled, changed, modified, refinanced, paid in full, charged off, or ...

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