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Certegy Check Services, Inc. v. Fuller

Supreme Court of West Virginia

May 17, 2019

CERTEGY CHECK SERVICES, INC. and COMPLETE PAYMENT RECOVERY SERVICES, INC., Petitioners Below, Petitioners
v.
JANICE FULLER, Respondent Below, Respondent

          Submitted: March 5, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Mercer County The Honorable Mark Wills, Judge Civil Action No. 17-C-147-MW

          D. Kyle Deak, Esq. Troutman Sanders LLP Raleigh, North Carolina John C. Lynch, Esq. Jonathan M. Kenney, Esq. Troutman Sanders LLP Virginia Beach, Virginia Counsel for the Petitioners

          Steven R. Broadwater, Jr., Esq. Ralph C. Young, Esq. Christopher B. Frost, Esq. Hamilton, Burgess, Young & Pollard, PLLC Fayetteville, West Virginia Counsel for the Respondent

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. "An order denying a motion to compel arbitration is an interlocutory ruling which is subject to immediate appeal under the collateral order doctrine." Syl. Pt. 1, Credit Acceptance Corp. v. Front, 231 W.Va. 518, 745 S.E.2d 556 (2013).

         2. When a circuit court denies a motion to compel arbitration, the circuit court's order must contain the requisite findings of fact and conclusions of law that form the basis of its decision.

          OPINION

          ARMSTEAD, JUSTICE:

         This is an interlocutory appeal of a circuit court's order denying a motion to compel arbitration. Based on the record before us, the arguments of the parties, and the applicable law, we find that the circuit court's order does not contain sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law for this Court to conduct a proper review. Therefore, we vacate the circuit court's order denying the motion to compel and remand this matter to the circuit court for further proceedings, including the determination of whether any arbitration agreement exists between the parties and, if an agreement exists, whether that agreement is unconscionable.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Janice Fuller, was in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January or February 2016. According to Ms. Fuller, she stayed at a hotel and paid for her stay with two "convenience checks" drawn on her credit card account. She says that her credit card company "processed the checks" and added them to her bill. She claims that she paid her bill in full when she returned home.

         Defendant Complete Payment Recovery Systems, Inc. ("Complete Payment"), is a debt collector and a subsidiary of Defendant Certegy Check Services, Inc. ("Certegy"). Certegy is a risk management company. Together, they work with a third (and apparently unrelated) company called Global Payments Gaming Services, Inc., that operates a "VIP Preferred Program" for "gaming establishments" and their customers. According to Certegy and Complete Payment, Ms. Fuller signed up for the program and used it to conduct "two check transactions" in January and February 2016, which they say were "returned as unpaid."

         Sometime afterward, Complete Payment attempted to collect this alleged debt from Ms. Fuller. Ms. Fuller claims she protested the debt and demanded to be left alone, but Certegy and Complete Payment persisted in their collection efforts.

         Ms. Fuller sued them in the Circuit Court of Mercer County. She claims that the defendants invaded her privacy and violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, W.Va. Code §§ 46A-1-101 to -8-102 (2018). Certegy and ...


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