A Magistrate judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion to compel arbitration in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act class-action case involving debt collection calls that were made to the plaintiff for a company credit card years after the plaintiff stopped working at the company.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Audish v. American Express can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff worked for a company until 2016. During her employment, she was provided with a company credit card that was issued by the defendant. When the plaintiff stopped working for the company, she returned the card to her employer and has not used it since. Starting in 2019, the defendant began “repeatedly calling” the plaintiff trying to collect on an unpaid debt. The plaintiff allegedly explained on multiple occasions that she did not work for the company anymore, but she continued to receive pre-recorded calls through 2020 and into 2021. The plaintiff then filed suit, alleging the defendant violated the TCPA.
In seeking to compel arbitration, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s claim was subject to the arbitration provision of the agreement that governed the use of the card. The plaintiff, meanwhile, claimed that because she was not a signatory to the original cardholder agreement that her use of the card was not subject to the terms of the agreement, and that she was never notified about the existence of the agreement.
But all the plaintiff had to do was turn the card over to see the statement, “Use of this card is subject to the cardmember agreement,” noted Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff never stated that she didn’t see the statement or that she was otherwise unaware of it, Judge Wang wrote.
Ultimately, Judge Wang ruled, a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and thus granted the motion to compel arbitration.