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Federal Appeals Court Sends Case Back for Lower Court to Reconsider an Arbitration Issue
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Federal Appeals Court Sends Case Back for Lower Court to Reconsider an Arbitration Issue

Dawn Guidotti, et al. v. Rocky Mountain Bank and Trust, et al.

In May, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived a dispute over whether a consumer could be compelled to arbitrate claims against Rocky Mountain Bank and Trust and Global Client Solutions in a matter arising from Dawn Guidotti’s attempt to negotiate a settlement of her consumer debt.

Guidotti sued Rocky Mountain Bank and Trust (Rocky Mountain) and Global Client Solutions (Global), among others, claiming the defendants schemed to defraud her. Rocky Mountain and Global moved to compel arbitration under the terms of their contract with Guidotti. In total, Guidotti sued 22 defendants, alleging they conspired to provide unlicensed debt adjustment services in violation of applicable state law.

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted a motion to compel arbitration as to the claims against most of the defendants, but denied the motion as to Rocky Mountain and Global. The court held that the pleadings and certain evidence adduced by Guidotti were sufficient to demonstrate that there had been no meeting of the minds on an agreement to arbitrate.

After reviewing the record from the lower court, the appellate court found insufficient evidence existed before the court to prove there was no genuine dispute of material fact as to whether the Appellants and Guidotti agreed to arbitrate. In other words, they did not find enough evidence in the record to support the lower court’s conclusion that there was no meeting of the minds between Guidotti and Rocky Mountain and Global.

The appellate court vacated the lower court’s decision and remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings.

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