District court grants motion to compel arbitration, finding parties delegated unfairness issues to arbitrator
Zeevi v. Citibank, NA, n ° 2: 19-cv-02206-GMN-BNW (D. Nev. February 16, 2021) [click for opinion]
In March 2019, Plaintiff Daniel Zeevi opened a bank account with a Las Vegas, Nevada branch of Defendant Citibank, NA (“Citibank”). In doing so, Zeevi has limited all potential text notifications related to its transaction history to transactions of $ 101.00 or more. Zeevi claimed that Citibank nevertheless sent him text messages related to transactions less than or equal to $ 100.00, in violation of consumer protection law by telephone (“TCPA“).
In response to Zeevi’s lawsuit, Citibank filed a request for binding arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement contained in a customer manual that Zeevi signed when he opened the account. Zeevi opposed the petition, claiming that the arbitration agreement contained in the client’s manual was unreasonable and therefore unenforceable. Citibank asserted that because the arbitration agreement contained a delegation clause reserving to the arbitrator decisions on “claims relating to the applicability and interpretation of …
The court ruled in favor of Citibank. The tribunal found that the parties had clearly and unequivocally attributed the arbitrability of the agreement to the arbitrator by express delegation. Thus, unless the delegation clause itself is unreasonable, the power to decide whether the arbitration agreement is unreasonable would rest with the arbitrator. The tribunal concluded that Zeevi had not specifically challenged the unfairness of the delegation clause, but rather the arbitration agreement as a whole. The tribunal therefore ruled that any allegation that the arbitration agreement was abusive must be resolved by the arbitrator, and allowed Citibank’s request to compel the arbitration.