The Eleventh Circuit affirmed a Florida district court’s denial of Cashcall’s motion to compel arbitration, as the forum selected in the parties’ loan agreement was not available. Appellee Abraham Inetianbor initially borrowed $2,600 from Western Sky Financial LLC. He subsequently repaid $3,252.65 to the servicer of the loan, CashCall, over twelve months. Mr. Inetianbor refused to pay a subsequent bill from Cashcall because he believed his financial obligations had been fulfilled. CashCall disagreed, and reported Mr. Inetianbor’s purported default to credit agencies. Mr. Inetianbor then sued, inter alia, for defamation and usury violations.
The loan agreement mandated any dispute be arbitrated by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation (the “Tribe”). Despite attempts to comply with arbitration, the Tribe explained to Mr. Inetianbor and the district court on multiple occasions that the Tribe does not authorize arbitration. CashCall argued that the specified arbitral forum was not integral to the agreement, and therefore its unavailability should not cause the court to deny its motion to compel. The Court looked to “how important the term was to one or both of the parties at the time they entered into the agreement” – to determine whether the arbitration agreement is integral. In this case, the agreement made multiple references to the Tribe. In nine paragraphs regarding arbitration in the contract, the Tribe was specifically mentioned in five of them. The Court concluded that the contract’s use of “shall” and “is required to” was sufficient evidence of the intent to make the Tribal arbitral forum the exclusive forum. Since that arbitral forum was unavailable, Appellant’s motion to compel arbitration was denied. Inetianbor v. Cashcall, Inc., No. 13-cv-60066-JIC (11th Cir. 2014).
Author: Matthew Burrows - Law Clerk
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