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Pompeo v. AD Astra Recovery Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

June 22, 2017

STEVE POMPEO, Plaintiff,
v.
AD ASTRA RECOVERY SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          M. CHRISTINA ARMIJO Chief Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Ad Astra Recovery Services, Inc.'s Motion to Compel Arbitration and Dismiss Action or Stay Action Pending Completion of Arbitration and Memorandum in Support Filed in Lieu of an Answer (Motion). [Doc. 8] Having considered the submissions, the relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed in the premises, the Court GRANTS the Motion, COMPELS arbitration, and STAYS this action.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant Ad Astra Recovery Services, Inc. is a collection agency contracted to Rapid Cash for collection of delinquent accounts. [Doc. 8-2, ¶¶ 4-5] Plaintiff Steve Pompeo (Plaintiff) allegedly borrowed funds from Rapid Cash in August, 2014. [Doc. 1, pg. 2] Rapid Cash referred the alleged debt to Defendant for collection, and Defendant reported the debt on Plaintiff's credit report. [Doc. 1, pg. 2] Plaintiff disputed the debt by sending a dispute letter to Defendant in September, 2016. [Id.] In November, 2016, the debt was still reported on Plaintiff's credit report and did not bear a “disputed by consumer” notice. [Id.]

         Plaintiff filed suit in December, 2016. [Doc. 1] Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's “debt collection efforts attempted and/or directed towards Plaintiff violate various provisions of the [Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)].” [Doc. 1, pg. 2] See 15 U.S.C. § 1692 - 1692p. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant reported an alleged consumer debt on Plaintiff's credit report even after it had notice of Plaintiff's dispute of the debt and failed to indicate on the credit report that the debt was disputed. [Id. ¶ 12]

         Defendant moved to compel arbitration. [Doc. 8] Plaintiff never responded to the Motion and Plaintiff's time to respond has lapsed. D.N.M. LR Civ. 7.4(a). Defendant attached to its Motion the “Rapid Cash Unsecured High Interest Installment Loan Agreement and Disclosure Statement, ” (the Agreement) completed and signed by Plaintiff, which states:

Unless prohibited by applicable law and unless you reject the Arbitration provision in accordance with Section 1 below, you and we agree that either party may elect to require arbitration of any Claim under the following terms and conditions[.]

         The terms governing arbitration are set forth in ten paragraphs addressing the right to reject arbitration, arbitration election, waiver, location and costs of arbitration, governing law, survival, and effect of an arbitrator's award, among others. [Doc. 8-2] The Arbitration Provision provides, among other things, the following:

If a lawsuit is filed, the Defending Party may elect to demand arbitration under this Arbitration Provision of some or all of the Claims asserted in the lawsuit. . . . A demand to arbitrate a Claim may be given in papers or motions in a lawsuit.

         The Agreement also states that

For purposes of this Agreement, our “related parties” include all parent companies, subsidiaries and affiliates of ours (including Ad Astra Recovery Services, Inc.) and our and their employees, directors, officers, shareholders, governors, managers and members.
The term “Claim” means any claim, dispute or controversy between you and us (or our related parties) that arises from or relates in any way to this Agreement or any services you request or we provide under this Agreement (“Services”) . . . . “Claim” is to be given the broadest possible meaning and includes claims of every kind and nature, including but not limited to, initial claims, counterclaims, cross-claims and third party claims. . . . It includes disputes that seek relief of any type, including damages and/or injunctive, declaratory or other equitable relief.

[Doc. 8-1, pg. ...


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