THOMAS B. SMITH, ET AL.
CREDIT ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION
Circuit Court for Baltimore City Case Nos. 24-C-17-003797
C.J., Wright, Shaw Geter, JJ.
appeal arises from an order issued by the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City to compel arbitration in a contract action for
the purchase of an automobile. Following Appellee's
voluntary dismissal of its action against Appellants in the
District Court of Maryland for failure to make required
payments under the same contract, Appellants filed a class
action complaint in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
Appellants alleged Appellee charged impermissible
"convenience fees" and failed to sufficiently
notify Appellants regarding the repossession and sale of the
vehicle in contravention of Maryland's Credit Grantor
Closed End Credit Provisions. Appellee then petitioned the
circuit court to compel arbitration of Appellants' claim.
Appellants opposed the motion, arguing Appellee waived its
right to arbitration when it previously filed its claim in
the District Court. On January 12, 2018, the circuit court
granted Appellee's petition. Appellants timely appealed
and present the following question for our review:
1. Whether the Maryland Court of Appeals in Cain v.
Midland Funding, LLC, 452 Md. 141, 156 A.3d 807 (Md.
2017) limited the waiver of the right to arbitrate
"related" claims as defined by Charles J.
Frank, Inc. v. Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore,
Inc., 294 Md. 443');">294 Md. 443, 450 A.2d 1304 (Md. 1982) to include
only those claims that are "dependent" on the
claims raised in a prior action?
November 15, 2013, Appellants, Thomas Smith and Timothy
Smith, entered into a Retail Installment Contract (the
"Contract") to purchase a 2003 Cadillac Escalade
(the "Vehicle") from Anderson Automotive Group,
Inc. (the "Dealership"). The Dealership assigned
all of its rights, title, and interest, including its
security interest, in and to the Contract and the Vehicle to
Appellee, Credit Acceptance Corporation (hereafter,
the Contract was an arbitration clause, which provided:
This Arbitration Clause describes how a Dispute (as defined
below) may be arbitrated . . .
A "Dispute" is any controversy or claim between
[Appellants] and [Credit Acceptance] arising out of or in any
way related to this Contract, including, but not limited to,
any default under this Contract, the collection of amounts
due under this Contract, the purchase, sale, delivery,
set-up, quality of the Vehicle, advertising for the Vehicle
or its financing, or any product or service included in this
Contract. "Dispute" shall have the broadest meaning
possible, and includes contract claims, and claims based on
tort, violations of laws, statute, ordinances or regulations
or any other legal or equitable theories . . .
Either [Appellants] or [Credit Acceptance] may require any
Dispute to be arbitrated and may do so before or after a
lawsuit has been started over the Dispute . . .
If [Appellants] or [Credit Acceptance] elect to arbitrate a
Dispute, neither [Appellants] nor [Credit Acceptance] will
have the right to pursue that Dispute in court or ...