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March 28, 2018 Practice Points

Minor Not Bound by Mother’s Arbitration Agreement

By S.I. Strong

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently addressed whether a child could be bound by her parent’s arbitration agreement. A.D. v. Credit One Bank, Case No. 17-1486 (U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Cir. March 22, 2018). The case involved a class action complaint filed by a minor, through her mother, regarding repeated, harassing telephone calls made by Credit One Bank to the minor’s cellphone. The calls all involved the mother’s past-due status on her credit card with Credit One Bank. The mother's account agreement had an arbitration provision requiring arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act.

The Seventh Circuit held that the child was not bound to arbitrate, and her class action complaint could proceed in court since the minor was not a party to the mother’s credit card agreement with Credit One Bank. Moreover, the plaintiff was not bound to her mother’s agreement on the grounds of equitable estoppel because the plaintiff was not relying on her mother's agreement with the bank to assert her claims but was instead relying on a federal statute.

S.I. Strong is the Manley O. Hudson Professor at the University of Missouri, School of Law in Columbia, Missouri.

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