Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

Certification of Class Arbitration

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

Certification of Class Arbitration

Article excerpt

CONSUMER

In a non-precedential per curiam decision, the 4th Circuit upheld the confirmation of an arbitrator's award certifying a nationwide class arbitration involving alleged violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

Laverne Jones, Stacey Ness and Kerry Ness each enrolled in a debt management program with Genus Credit Management Corp. pursuant to an EasyPay Client Agreement, which incorporated "Terms of Debt Management-EasyPay" by reference. The EasyPay Client Agreement contained an arbitration clause requiring "[a]ny dispute between us that cannot be amicably resolved, and all claims or controversies arising out of this Agreement ... [to] be settled solely and exclusively by binding arbitration" administered by the American Arbitration Association. It also had a class action litigation waiver, which stated: "it being expressly acknowledged that you will not participate in any class action lawsuit in connection with any such dispute, claim, or controversy, either as a representative plaintiffor as a member of a putative class." The agreement also contained a choice-of-law provision stating: "All questions concerning the construction, validity, and the interpretation of this Agreement will be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland without reference to any conflict of laws rules."

Jones and the Nesses jointly filed a class action lawsuit alleging federal and state common law and statutory claims against Genus and the other defendants. …

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