United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. SPAULDING UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:
cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the
following motion filed herein:
DEFENDANT MARINER FINANCE, LLC'S MOTION
TO STAY PROCEEDINGS AND COMPEL ARBITRATION (Doc.
April 5, 2018
Linda Wilson, instituted this action on February 20, 2018,
naming Trans Union, LLC (“Trans Union”), and
Mariner Finance, LLC (“Mariner LLC”), as
Defendants. Doc. No. 1. Her complaint sets forth four counts,
all relating to a dispute she filed with Trans Union
regarding an entry in her credit file. She alleges in Counts
I and II that Mariner LLC negligently or willfully violated
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by failing
to conduct a proper investigation of her consumer dispute and
failing to direct Trans Union to remove the offending entry
from her credit file. Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 15-26. In
counts III and IV, she alleges that Trans Union negligently
or willfully failed to follow procedures to assure the
maximum possible accuracy of her credit file and failed to
conduct a reasonable reinvestigation following receipt of her
consumer dispute. Id. ¶¶ 27-40. Trans
Union answered the complaint. Doc. No. 21.
April 5, 2018, Mariner LLC moved to stay these proceedings
and compel arbitration of all claims alleged against it. Doc.
No. 18. It supported its motion with declarations from
Salvatore Scaffidi, a Vice President at Mariner Finance
Florida, Inc. (Doc. No. 18-1), and Joe Perdue, a Senior Vice
President at Mariner LLC (Doc. No. 18-2). The time for filing
a response has passed, and, as of the writing of this Report
and Recommendation, no response has been filed. Accordingly,
Mariner Finance's motion is ripe for decision.
obtained a loan from Sunbelt Credit Corporation of Florida
(“Sunbelt”) on or around January 15, 2014. Doc.
No. 18, at 2; Doc. No. 18-1 ¶ 10; Doc. No. 18-1, at
14-21. As part of that loan transaction, she was required to
sign, and did sign, an Alternative Dispute Resolution
Agreement (“ADR Agreement”). Doc. No. 18, at 2;
Doc. No. 18-1 ¶ 11-12; Doc. No. 18-1, at 22.
Wilson's agreement to enter into the ADR Agreement
induced Sunbelt to enter into the loan agreement with Wilson
and provide her with the loan proceeds. Doc. No. 18-1 ¶
14; Doc. No. 18-1, at 22 (“In consideration of the
foregoing, and as an inducement to Lender to enter into the
Loan Agreement with the Borrower . . .”). The ADR
(1) All disputes, controversies or claims of any kind and
nature between Lender and Borrower arising out of or in
connection with the loan agreement or arising out of any
prior dealings between Lender and Borrower or arising out of
any future dealings between Lender and Borrower shall be
submitted to arbitration pursuant to the procedures under the
following pre-dispute arbitration agreement.
(2) Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or
relating to the Loan Agreement, or the breach thereof, or
arising out of any prior dealings between the Lender and
Borrower or arising out of any future dealings between Lender
and Borrower, shall be settled by arbitration in the State of
Florida in accordance with the commercial Arbitration Rules
of the American Arbitration Association . . . .
Doc. No. 18-1, at 22. It defines “Lender” to
mean, without limitation, Sunbelt and Sunbelt's
“agents, employees, officers, directors, shareholders,
direct and indirect parent, subsidiaries, affiliates,
predecessors, and successors.” Id.
2014, Sunbelt changed its name and merged with Mariner
Finance Florida, Inc. (“Mariner Inc.”). Doc. No.
18-1 ¶ 3; Doc. No. 18-1, at 5-13. Thus, Sunbelt and
Mariner Inc. are the same entity. Doc. No. 18-1 ¶ 3. In
addition, Mariner Inc. and Mariner LLC are separate but
affiliated entities. Id. ¶ 4; Doc. No. 18-1
complaint, Wilson alleges that Mariner LLC “is
inaccurately reporting its trade line with an opened date of
January 2014 (‘Errant Trade Line') with bankruptcy
language on her Trans Union credit file.” Doc. No. 1
¶ 6. Wilson alleges that the Errant Trade Line was paid
and not included in her Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Id.
¶ 7. After discovering the Errant Trade Line in her
Trans Union credit file, Wilson submitted a letter disputing
the Errant Trade Line and asking Trans Union to remove the
bankruptcy language from the Errant Trade Line. Id.
¶ 10. With respect to Mariner LLC, Wilson alleges that,
after receiving her customer dispute from Trans Union,
Mariner LLC failed to ...