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Judge Rules Citibank Did Not Waive Arbitration Right

Saturday, December, 24, 2016

A recent ruling from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals determined Citibank had not waived its right to arbitration in a debt collection lawsuit. The appeal had been filed by Citibank challenging a ruling from the Boone Circuit Court denying the bank’s motion to compel arbitration and stay the action.

Prior to the recent ruling, the court determined Citibank had waived its right to arbitration of the matter through certain actions it had taken to further its case. The bank claimed it had not waived its arbitration through its actions, nor did it do so pursuant to provisions contained in the arbitration agreement allowing parties to seek arbitration after filing a lawsuit in court, as long as the trial had not yet started.

According to the opinion issued by the court and written by Justice Robin Jean Davis, “We have reviewed the parties’ briefs, heard their oral arguments and considered the relevant law. Based upon our thorough consideration of this matter, we now reverse this case and remand for entry of an order compelling arbitration and staying the court action.”

The lawsuit grew from a consumer MasterCard credit account opened in January 1998. In 2010, Citibank took debt collection actions against the consumer in Boone Circuit Court in an attempt to garner the balance owed on the account. The case bounced between state and federal courts, and at one point stopped moving forward at all for more than four years. Finally, the consumer credit account holder hired an attorney. Now, the case will move forward with arbitration potentially being the determining factor.