The North Carolina Superior Court has denied the defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration in our class action lawsuit against Nationwide Budget Finance, a payday lending organization that continued to operate after payday lending became illegal in North Carolina in 2001. While in business, the defendants inserted language into their loan contracts that required any dispute to be resolved through arbitration with the National Arbitration Foundation (NAF) rather than through a trial in court.
After we filed our lawsuit, the defendants sought to enforce these arbitration clauses, which would have prevented us from obtaining class certification and denied our class members any viable remedy. Fortunately, the North Carolina Superior Court denied the defendants' motion. In so doing, the Court found that the arbitration clause was no longer enforceable because the NAF no longer exists; that the arbitration clause had never validly been part of the contract because customers were not made aware that the NAF was not a neutral arbitrator, and manipulated arbitrator appointments to achieve favorable results for payday lenders; that the arbitration clause was unconscionable; and that the arbitration clause was an unlawful exculpatory clause designed to prevent customers from asserting their lawful rights.
The Court's Order may be read here.