Greentree Financial Corp.-Ala.v.Randolph
The Legal Environment of Business
This paper is a brief introduction and discussion about a Supreme Court case- Greentree Corp. Ala. v. Randolph, which focuses on Contract Law and some concepts of arbitration. There are also some personal analysis and view about the case. Finally, some inspirations will be listed as impressions and for further discussion. Finally, a brief conclusion will be summarized at the end of the paper. The paper aims at restoring the reality of the case. Citations from the original sources have been listed in the sentences and at the end of the paper.
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”（9 U.S.C. § 2 (2000)) p92). Announcing the standard, the Court left open the possibility that an arbitration clause could be invalidated because of inordinately high arbitration costs for the consumer.（9 U.S.C. § 2 (2000)) p91 “It may well be that the existence of large arbitration costs could preclude a litigant such as the plaintiff from effectively vindicating her federal statutory rights in the arbitral forum.”）
Respondent Larketta Randolph purchased a mobile home from Better Cents Home Builders, Inc., in Opelika, Alabama. She financed this purchase through petitioners Green Tree Financial Corporation and its subsidiary, Green Tree Financial Corp.-Alabama. Petitioners' Manufactured Home Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement required that Randolph buy Vendor's Single Interest insurance, which protects the vendor against the costs of repossession in the event of default. The agreement also provided that all disputes arising from, or relating to, the contract, whether arising under case law or statutory law, would be resolved by binding arbitration.
Thus, Randolph later sued petitioners, claiming that they violated the Truth in Lending Act ((TILA), 15 U. S. C. § 1601 et seq.), by failing to disclose as a finance charge the Vendor's Single Interest insurance requirement. She later altered her complaint to add a claim that petitioners violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act(15 U. S. C. §§ 1691-1691f), by requiring her to arbitrate her statutory causes of action.
I. District Court
In analyzing Green Tree’s motion to compel arbitration, the district court first addressed whether enforcement of the arbitration clause was statutorily barred (Green Tree I, 991 F. Supp. p1415. ). Second, the court addressed the contractual claims by considering whether the arbitration provision was supported by valid consideration and whether the plaintiff knowingly consented to arbitration (Green Tree I, 991 F. Supp. p1421-23.).
The court applied two portions of test to evaluate whether the arbitration provision was statutorily barred: (1) whether the arbitration agreement was broad enough to take on the plaintiff’s statutory claims; (2) “whether legal constraints external to the Parties’ agreement foreclosed the arbitration of those claims.Green Tree I, 991 F. Supp. p1416. ). Under the first portion, the plaintiff argued that the arbitration provision failed specifically to mention the relevant statutes, and therefore did not include her statutory claims. The court found that the arbitration clause was sufficiently broad. Under the second portion, the court said that the plaintiff faced a rebuttable presumption in favor of enforcing the arbitration provision. To rebut this presumption, the plaintiff was required “(1) to demonstrate that Congress intended to preclude waiver of judicial remedies for TILA or ECOA rights at issue (2) by showing that text or legislative history of the statutes indicated such a...