Community State Bank, et al. v. Strong

This case arose when respondent obtained a month-long $200 loan from a storefront in Georgia in 2004. Respondent later sought relief from a Georgia state court, arguing that the loan was illegal and usurious under Georgia law because it carried a finance charge of $36, equivalent to an annual percentage rate of 253%. At issue on appeal was whether the district court had jurisdiction to entertain a petition to compel arbitration pursuant to section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 4. The court held that, looking through the section 4 arbitration petition to the underlying controversy, respondent's dispute with Community State Bank (Bank) could have arisen under federal law and, thus, provided a basis for federal jurisdiction over the FAA petition. Therefore, the court held that the district court had jurisdiction over the Bank's section 4 petition. The court held that because Cash America's arbitration defenses were struck by the Georgia state court as a statutorily authorized sanction for their willful and deliberate discovery abuses, Cash America could not relitigate the issue of the arbitration clauses' enforceability in federal court. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the FAA petition, on the alternative ground of issue preclusion, as to Cash America. The court, however, vacated the order of dismissal as to the Bank and remanded to the district court to consider in the first instance the merits of the Bank's petition to compel arbitration. View "Community State Bank, et al. v. Strong" on Justia Law