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Savitz v. Citizens Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 17, 2019

ARTHUR SAVITZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITIZENS BANK, N.A., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration, or Alternatively, Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint under Rule 12(b) or Rule 56. ECF 7 and ECF 8. Plaintiff filed a Response to the Motion (ECF 10) and Defendant filed a Reply. ECF 14. This matter is now ripe for adjudication.

         I. Relevant Facts

         The Court assumes all facts set forth herein are true, solely for the purpose of adjudicating this Motion.

         Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against Defendant alleging that Defendant violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (“EFTA”), 15 U.S.C. 1601, et seq., and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. 1692, et seq. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff had a savings account and home Equity lines of credit with Defendant (collectively “Plaintiff's Accounts”). ECF 1. The home equity lines of credit are secured by Plaintiff's primary residence. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges he was victim of fraud regarding these Accounts from July 27, 2018 through August 9, 2018. Id. The fraud involved unauthorized electronic transfers from Plaintiff's Accounts, and was part of a larger fraud scheme which was investigated by the FBI. Id. The total value of the unauthorized electronic transfers from Plaintiff's Accounts was $112, 400.00. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that he notified Defendant of the fraudulent transfers via telephone on August 11, 2018, and in person on August 18, 2018. Id. In addition, Defendant was informed that local law enforcement and the FBI were investigating the fraud which Plaintiff had reported to Defendant twice in August. Id. Despite Plaintiff's alleged timely reporting of the fraud to Defendant, Plaintiff claims that Defendant failed to credit Plaintiff's Accounts for the $112, 400.00 which in turn, caused Plaintiff to incur late fees, penalties, and interest. Id. Moreover, Defendant has purportedly attempted to collect the late fees, penalties, and interest from Plaintiff, as well as the $112, 400.00 amount. Id.

         Defendant's instant Motion argues that Plaintiff cannot bring this lawsuit before this Court due to an arbitration clause contained in Plaintiff's Personal Deposit Account Agreement (ECF 10-3, p. 30).

         II. Standard of Review

         A. Motion to Compel Arbitration

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has held:

Because “[a]rbitration is a matter of contract between the parties, ” a judicial mandate to arbitrate must be predicated upon the parties' consent. Par-Knit Mills, Inc. v. Stockbridge Fabrics Co., Ltd., 636 F.2d 51, 54 (3d Cir. 1980). The Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq., enables the enforcement of a contract to arbitrate, but requires that a court shall be “satisfied that the making of the agreement for arbitration ... is not in issue” before it orders arbitration. Id. § 4. “In the event that the making of the arbitration agreement is in issue, then ‘the court shall proceed summarily to the trial' of that issue.” Par-Knit Mills, 636 F.2d at 54 (quoting 9 U.S.C. § 4). “[T]he party who is contesting the making of the agreement has the right to have the issue presented to a jury.” Id.
. . . Some of our cases “support the traditional practice of treating a motion to compel arbitration as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, ” under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Palcko v. Airborne Express, Inc.,372 F.3d 588, 597 (3d Cir. 2004). We have also said, however, that “when considering a motion to compel arbitration ... [a district court] should” employ “the standard used ... in resolving summary judgment motions pursuant to [Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure].” Par-Knit Mills, 636 F.2d at 54 & n. 9; see alsoKaneff v. Del. Title Loans, Inc.,587 F.3d 616, 620 ...

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