Experian prevails on motion to dismiss/terminate arbitration proceedings before AAA and United States District Court confirms
Clients Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
On December 26, 2017, Jones Day, on behalf of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Experian"), obtained a complete dismissal and termination Order from Arbitrator Roland M. Cavalier of the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") of Plaintiff Brian Berger’s claims. The plaintiff/claimant filed his demand before the AAA alleging fraud-based claims relating to information contained in his credit file with Experian, seeking significant monetary and equitable relief. The claimant predicated jurisdiction before the AAA on a credit monitoring services contract he entered into with another entity within the Experian family of companies, consumerinfo.com ("CIC"). Notably, the arbitration agreement Berger entered into with CIC expressly limited arbitrability to claims arising out of or relating to his credit monitoring service, and carved out disputes relating to the information contained in his credit report arising under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA").
Despite the agreement’s language, claimant asserted that AAA jurisdiction was proper because his claims did not arise out of the FCRA, but rather, were grounded in fraud based on Experian's prior representations to correct the information. After full briefing on Experian's motion to dismiss/terminate, the submission of supplemental evidence, and various hearings before the Arbitrator relating to jurisdiction, the Arbitrator, in a thorough, well-reasoned ruling, agreed with Experian and granted its motion. The Arbitrator expressly found that the claims arose out of the FCRA, and further, that any other claims Berger sought to assert against Experian relating to the credit data in his credit file would be preempted by the FCRA. This important decision is the first of its kind confirming the scope and enforceability of Experian's current arbitration agreement.
Following the Arbitrator’s order, Experian sought confirmation of the Arbitrator's clause construction award before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. On June 26, 2018, the District Court granted Experian’s petition to confirm the Arbitrator’s decision and confirmed the Arbitrator’s order.