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Patel v. Regions Bank

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

June 25, 2019

CHIRAG PATEL
v.
REGIONS BANK, ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN JACKSON, JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Regions Bank's Motion to Compel Arbitration and to Stay Plaintiffs Claims Against Regions Bank Pending Arbitration (Doc. 15). Also before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel TransUnion and Experian to Arbitration (Doc. 24)[1]. Oral argument is not required. For the reasons stated below, Regions Bank's ("Regions") motion is GRANTED and Plaintiffs motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL HISTORY

         Chirag Patel "Plaintiff' alleges that in 2016, he obtained a Regions Bank Credit Card ("Regions Card"). (Doc. 1 at ¶ 11). Plaintiff asserts that he used the card sparingly, and always paid the full balance in a timely manner. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-14). Plaintiff alleges that on or about December 23, 2017, he received alerts from another of his credit card companies, Ally Cashback Visa Platinum ("Ally"), notifying him that his card had been used at a Macy's Department Store in Lennox Square, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Id. at ¶¶ 15, 16). Plaintiff avers that he notified Ally that the charge was fraudulent, and Ally refunded the charge. (Id. at ¶¶ 17-18). Plaintiff claims that he checked his Regions Card account, and found ten fraudulent pending charges, totaling $18, 230.46. (Id. at ¶¶ 19-22). Plaintiff alerted Regions of the allegedly fraudulent activity on December 24, 2017. (Id. at ¶ 21). Plaintiff alleges that Regions approved three of the ten pending charges: a charge at Macy's for $3, 023.29, a charge at Krogers grocery store for $150.00 and a charge at SAKS department store for $15, 057.17. (Id. at ¶ 22). Plaintiff asserts that Regions never sent him a fraud alert. (Id. at 1| 25).

         Despite efforts to show that his card was charged fraudulently, Plaintiff avers that he began receiving automated phone calls from Regions requesting payment for the outstanding balance on his account. (Id. at ¶ 30). Plaintiff also claims that Regions began reporting his account as delinquent to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. (Id. at ¶ 32). Plaintiff claims that Regions continued to report the unpaid balance, continued to robocall him, and continued to assess late fees and interest on the unpaid balance, despite his claims that the charges were fraudulent. (Id. at ¶¶ 34-37).

         Plaintiff claims that he attempted to rent an apartment in May 2018, but was denied due to a negative entry on his credit report. (Id. at ¶ 39). Plaintiff alleges that on June 22, 2018, he mailed letters to Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union explaining the unauthorized charges, and disputing the Regions tradeline. (Id. at ¶ 42). Plaintiff avers that upon reporting his dispute with Regions to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he received copies of the receipts from the allegedly unauthorized transactions, none of which contained Plaintiffs signature, and none of which were similar to each other.

         Plaintiff asserts that on July 18, 2018, Regions' agent Sam Lewis ("Lewis") called Plaintiff and notified him that the investigation resulted in a finding that Plaintiff owed the disputed charges. (Id. at ¶ 59). Plaintiff now brings charges against Regions, TransUnion, and Experian[2] pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1666 et seq., 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq., and 47 U.S.C. § 227.

         Regions does not necessarily dispute any of the facts alleged by Plaintiff, and only argues that such allegations are subject to a binding arbitration clause. (Doc. 15- 1 at p. 1). Specifically, Regions claims that Plaintiff signed a Visa Consumer Credit Card Application (the "Application") on November 22, 2016, which provides that the account would be governed by the Credit Card Agreement, to be sent with the Regions Card. (Id.). Regions further alleges that the Credit Card Agreement provides that "all disputes regarding an Account or the Agreement are subject to binding arbitration, which impacts [Plaintiffs] rights to participate in a class action or similar judicial proceeding." (Id. at p.p. 1-2). The arbitration provision of the Credit Card Agreement provides:

ARBITRATION AND WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL. Except as expressly provided herein, you and we agree that either party may elect to resolve by BINDING ARBITRATION any controversy, claim, counterclaim, dispute or disagreement between you and us, whether asserted or brought in a direct, derivative, assignee, survivor, successor, beneficiary or personal capacity and whether arising before or after the effective date of this Agreement (any "Claim") [ . . . ] If either party elects to arbitrate, the Claim shall be settled by BINDING ARBITRATION under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"). This agreement to arbitrate shall include any Claim involving our current and former officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, contractors, subcontractors, parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, successors, assigns, any third party that assigned any agreements to us and any of the respective current and former employees, officers, agents or directors of such affiliates or third parties, and any such Claim against any of those parties may be joined or consolidated with any related Claim against us in a single arbitration proceeding.

         Regions asserts that all of Plaintiffs claims fall under the scope of the arbitration agreement.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         This Court has the authority to compel arbitration pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 4, which provides in relevant part:

A party aggrieved by the alleged failure, neglect, or refusal of another to arbitrate under a written agreement for arbitration may petition any United States district court which, save for such agreement, would have jurisdiction under title 28, in a civil action or in admiralty of the subject matter of a suit arising out of the controversy between the parties, for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such agreement.

         Arbitration is a matter of contract. Rent-A-Ctr., W., Inc. v. Jackson,561 U.S. 63, 69, (2010). Agreements to arbitrate fall within the scope and coverage of the Federal Arbitration Act (the "Act"), and must be enforced in both state and federal courts. KPMG LLP v. Cocchi,565 U.S. 18, 19 (2011). If a dispute presents multiple claims, some which fall under the scope of the arbitration, and some ...


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