Sixth Circuit Reverses District Court for Exceeding Its Authority by Ruling on Arbitrability…..

The plaintiff alleged that she was a victim of an illegal predatory loan orchestrated by the defendant’s company. The loan allegedly charged excessive interest but was shielded from U.S. law by tribal sovereign immunity.

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging that the loan was illegal and that the defendant had committed RICO and other consumer protection violations. The loan contract, however, included an arbitration provision, providing that “any dispute … related to this agreement will be resolved through binding arbitration” under tribal law, subject to review in tribal court. The defendant moved to compel arbitration, contending that the plaintiff agreed to a delegation clause to arbitrate issues “concerning the validity, enforceability, or scope” of the arbitration agreement, but the district court denied the defendant’s motion. The court found that the enforceability of the arbitration agreement “has already been litigated, and decided against [the defendant], in a similar case commenced in Vermont.”

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