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Good v. Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

November 13, 2019

BRADLEY GOOD, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff
v.
CAVALRY PORTFOLIO SERVICES, LLC, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NITZA I. QUIÑONES ALEJANDRO, J.

         INTRODUCTION

         Before this Court is a motion to compel arbitration filed by Defendants Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC (“Defendant Cavalry PS”) and Cavalry SPV I, LLC (“Defendant Cavalry SPV”) (collectively “Defendants”), pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-14. [ECF 16]. Plaintiff Bradley Good (“Plaintiff”) has opposed the motion. [ECF 20]. The primary issue of whether to compel arbitration has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.[1]For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to compel arbitration is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         In the underlying complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims against Defendants for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., arising out of a letter sent to Plaintiff by Defendant Cavalry PS on behalf of Defendant Cavalry SPV, seeking to recover a debt on a defaulted credit card obligation originally owed to Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”). Defendants have moved to compel arbitration of these claims pursuant to an arbitration provision (the “Arbitration Provision”) contained in the governing credit card agreement (collectively, the “Card Agreement”). Defendants' motion to compel arbitration is based on the following pertinent facts.[2]

         On August 7, 2012, a Citibank credit card application was completed in Plaintiff's name, Bradley D. Good, with a Social Security number ending in 0250 and an address of 342 W. Second Street, Media, Pennsylvania, 19063. On that same day, Citibank issued an account in Plaintiff's name (the “Account”), with the above corresponding Social Security number and address. Plaintiff received the physical credit card associated with the Account and made purchases. The first purchase Plaintiff made was posted on August 14, 2012, seven days after the opening of the Account.

         The Account was initially governed by a credit card agreement and fact sheet (the “2011 Card Agreement). (ECF 6-2, Ex. 6, pp. 48-53). The 2011 Card Agreement provided that it would become binding on Plaintiff unless he closed the Account within thirty days and the Account had not been used. (Id. at 48). The 2011 Card Agreement contained an arbitration provision governing enforcement of the parties' legal rights. (Id. at 51). It also advised that Citibank could change the terms governing the Account at any time with advance written notice and that the cardholder had a right to opt out. (Id.).

         Sometime in 2013, the terms of the 2011 Card Agreement were amended by advance, written notice (the “2013 Card Agreement”). (ECF 6-2, Ex. 7, pp. 55-73). Like the 2011 Card Agreement, the 2013 Card Agreement contained an identical arbitration provision (the “Arbitration Provision”) governing the enforcement of the parties' legal rights. (Id. at 65).[3] The Arbitration Provision provided the following:

ARBITRATION
PLEASE READ THIS PROVISION OF THE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY. IT PROVIDES THAT ANY DISPUTE MAY BE RESOLVED BY BINDING ARBITRATION. ARBITRATION REPLACES THE RIGHT TO GO TO COURT, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO A JURY AND THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION OR SIMILAR PROCEEDING. IN ARBITRATION, A DISPUTE IS RESOLVED BY AN ARBITRATOR INSTEAD OF A JUDGE OR JURY. ARBITRATION PROCEDURES ARE SIMPLER AND MORE LIMITED THAN COURT PROCEDURES.
Agreement to Arbitrate: Either you or we may, without the other's consent, elect mandatory, binding arbitration for any claim, dispute, or controversy between you and us (called “Claims”).
Claims Covered
What Claims are subject to arbitration? All Claims relating to your account, a prior related account, or our relationship are subject to arbitration, including Claims regarding the application, enforceability, or interpretation of this Agreement and this arbitration provision. All Claims are subject to arbitration, no matter what legal theory they are based on or what remedy (damages, or injunctive or declaratory relief) they seek. This includes Claims based on contract, tort (including intentional tort), fraud, agency, your or our negligence, statutory or regulatory provisions, or any other sources of law; Claims made as counterclaims, cross-claims, third-party claims, interpleaders or otherwise; and Claims made independently or with other claims. A party who initiates a proceeding in court may elect arbitration with respect to any Claim advanced in that proceeding by any other party. Claims and remedies sought as part of a class action, private attorney general or other representative action are subject to arbitration on an individual (nonclass, non-representative) basis, and the arbitrator may award relief only on an individual (nonclass, non-representative) basis.
Whose Claims are subject to arbitration? Not only ours and yours, but also Claims made by or against anyone connected with us or you or claiming through us or you, such as a coapplicant, authorized user of your account, an employee, agent, representative, affiliated company, predecessor or successor, heir, assignee, or trustee in bankruptcy.
* * *
Broadest Interpretation. Any questions about whether Claims are subject to arbitration shall be resolved by interpreting this arbitration provision in the broadest way the law will allow it to be enforced. This arbitration provision is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”).
* * *
What about debt collections? We and anyone to whom we assign your debt will not initiate an arbitration proceeding to collect a debt from you unless you assert a Claim against us or our assignee. We and any assignee may seek arbitration on an individual basis of any Claim asserted by you, whether in arbitration or any proceeding, including in a proceeding to collect a debt. You may seek arbitration on an ...

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