In Tuttle v. Sallie Mae, Inc., 2014 WL 545379 (N.D.Ind. 2014), Judge DeGuilio ordered a TCPA claim to arbitration, finding that the TCPA claim was within the scope of the arbitration clause.
The Court rejects Ms. Tuttle’s argument that the TCPA claim is either collateral to the Note or arises independently from the Note. In support of this argument, Ms. Tuttle cites several cases from outside this circuit, including cases from the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits. Collins & Aikman Prods. Co. v. Bldg. Sys., Inc., 58 F.3d 16, 23 (2d Cir.1995) (finding certain claims not subject to arbitration); Cape Flattery Ltd. v. Titan Mar., LLC, 647 F.3d 914, 924 (9th Cir.2011) (finding claims peripheral to agreement not subject to arbitration); Coors Brewing Co. v. Molson Breweries, 51 F.3d 1511, 1516 (10th Cir.1995) (finding antitrust claims exceeded the scope of the contract and were not subject to arbitration). The Court notes that none of these cases is binding on this Court. In addition, each of those cited cases is distinguishable from this one. ¶ Ms. Tuttle does cite one case from the Seventh Circuit in support of her argument that the TCPA claim does not relate to the Note. Smith v. Steinkamp, 318 F.3d 775, 776–77 (7th Cir.2003). The Court does not view Smith as factually analogous to this case. Unlike this case, the plaintiffs in Smith had signed multiple contracts with the defendants, some of which contained arbitration agreements and some of which did not. The Seventh Circuit looked to whether or not the arbitration agreement actually signed by the plaintiffs extended to actions arising from the later contract that did not include an arbitration provision. Id. at 778 (“All that is certain is that the waiver agreement, read sensibly as a whole, with careful attention to the relation among the clauses, does not apply to future disputes, including disputes over future loan agreements.”).FN5 Instead of relying on Smith, the Court looks to other Seventh Circuit cases in which the court has repeatedly held that an arbitration agreement may reach disputes “having their origin or genesis in the contract, whether or not they implicate interpretation or performance of the contract per se.” Gore, 666 F.3d at 1033 (7th Cir.2012) (quoting Sweet Dreams Unlimited, Inc. v. Dial–A–Mattress Int’l, Ltd., 1 F.3d 639, 642 (7th Cir.1993) (internal quotations omitted)). Therefore, if it needed to reach this issue, the Court would find that Ms. Tuttle’s TCPA claims have their origin or genesis in the contract because Sallie Mae’s efforts to collect on the Note gave rise to the TCPA claims.
The District Court also rejected the Plaintiff’s claim that the TCPA itself precluded Arbitration:
Finally, the Court addresses Ms. Tuttle’s argument that the normal federal presumption of arbitrability should not apply in this case because the text of the TCPA shows that Congress intended for violations of the TCPA to be heard in a judicial forum. Ms. Tuttle’s argument is basically that Congress used the word “court” throughout the TCPA and, therefore, an arbitrator should not hear a TCPA claim. In making this argument, she relies on a district court ruling from another circuit, in which the court found that Congress intended to preclude arbitration in a different federal statute that uses the phrase “right to sue.” Alexander v. U.S. Credit Mgmt., 384 F.Supp.2d 1003 (N.D.Tex.2005) (voiding arbitration clause for claims brought under Credit Repair Organizations Act). ¶ Ms. Tuttle has not succeeded in establishing that Congress intended to preclude parties from agreeing to arbitrate TCPA claims. As an initial matter, the district court’s reasoning in Alexander was recently rejected by the Supreme Court. CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood, 132 S.Ct. 665 (2012). In CompuCredit, the Court considered the same issue as in Alexander regarding whether the Credit Repair Organizations Act showed a Congressional intent to preclude arbitration. Though it did not cite Alexander specifically, the Supreme Court squarely rejected the rationale employed in Alexander. The Court held that the use of the terms “action,” “class action,” and “court” were not sufficient to infer an intent to preclude arbitration but rather were “utterly commonplace” phrases used to describe civil actions. Id. at 670. The Court stated that if such words were enough to preclude arbitration “valid arbitration agreements covering federal causes of action would be rare indeed.” Id. ¶ This Court finds no basis to distinguish the arguments made by Ms. Tuttle from the arguments rejected by the Supreme Court in CompuCredit. Accordingly, Ms. Tuttle has not shown a Congressional intent to preclude arbitration of TCPA claims. The Court notes that this decision is consistent with at least one other decision that recently rejected a similar challenge to arbitration of TCPA claims. See, e.g., Cyganiewicz v. Sallie Mae, Inc., No. 13–40067, 2013 WL 5797615, at *5–6 (D.Mass. Oct. 24, 2013).