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Webster v. OneMain Financial, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 3, 2018

FRANCES WEBSTER, Plaintiff,
v.
ONEMAIN FINANCIAL, INC, Defendant.

          Daniel Zemel ZEMEL LAW LLC Counsel for Plaintiff

          Gregory Edward Reid SILLS CUMMIS & GROSS PC Counsel for Defendant

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Frances Webster (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) seeks damages against Defendant OneMain Financial, Inc. (hereinafter “OneMain”) for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq., (hereinafter, “FCRA”), alleging that OneMain is a furnisher of information to a credit reporting agency concerning the collection of Plaintiff's disputed credit card debt. Plaintiff alleges that OneMain provided information that was false, misleading and inaccurate, whereby OneMain “willfully and negligently” failed to comply with the requirements imposed on furnishers of information pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b), giving rise to liability for damages pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681n (actual, statutory and punitive damages for willful conduct), or in the alternative pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681o (actual damages for negligent conduct).[1]

         This matter comes before the Court by way of Motion to Compel Arbitration [Docket Item 17][2] filed by OneMain on July 12, 2018. Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Brief in Opposition [Docket Item 18].) OneMain filed a Reply Brief [Docket Item 19] indicating that OneMain believed it was possible to resolve the present motion by stipulation.[3]

         The Court has now considered the parties' submissions and oral argument on December 3, 2018, and, for the reasons set forth below, the Court shall deny OneMain's present Motion to Compel Arbitration [Docket Item 17].

         II. BACKGROUND

         On January 24, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division - Special Civil Part, Burlington County, Docket No. BUR-DC-000548-18, alleging that OneMain violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act in relation to a loan made by OneMain to Plaintiff. (See Complaint [Docket Item 1-1].) On February 26, 2018, OneMain removed the action to this Court. (See Notice of Removal [Docket Item 1].) On March 19, 2018, OneMain filed an Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint. (See Answer [Docket Item 9].)

         Thereafter, OneMain filed the present Motion to Compel Arbitration [Docket Item 17]. OneMain argues that this case is subject to the mandatory arbitration provisions of the loan agreement between the parties, while Plaintiff argues that this case is within the small claims exclusion of the parties' arbitration agreement.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court has federal question jurisdiction over this FCRA claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         The Third Circuit has held that

[m]otions to compel arbitration are decided under the same standard applied to motions for summary judgment. [Kaneff v. Del. Title Loans, Inc., 587 F.3d 616, 620 (3d Cir. 2009).] Summary judgment is only proper if “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party opposing a motion to compel arbitration bears the burden of proving the arbitration clause unenforceable. Green Tree Fin. Corp.-Ala. v. Randolph, 531 U.S. 79, 92, 121 S.Ct. 513, 148 ...

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