Cynthia Hall and Ronald R. Ballentine, Respondents,
Green Tree Servicing, LLC, f/k/a Green Tree Financial Servicing Corp., Appellant
Heard March 4, 2015.
Appeal From Richland County Alison Renee Lee, Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No. 2013-001528.
Val H. Stieglitz, III and Suzanne G. Grigg, of Columbia; and Stephen Peterson Groves, Sr., of Charleston; all of Nexsen Pruet, LLC, for Appellant.
Brian L. Boger and Phillip Anthony Curiale, of the Law Offices of Brian L. Boger, of Columbia, for Respondents.
WILLIAMS, J. FEW, C.J., and HUFF, J., concur.
[413 S.C. 269] WILLIAMS, J.:
Green Tree Servicing, LLC (Green Tree) appeals the circuit court's order finding Cynthia Hall and Robert Ballentine's (Respondents) statutory claims against Green Tree for violations of claim and delivery proceedings and notification provisions were not subject to mandatory arbitration. We reverse.
On March 12, 1999, Hall was granted title to property in Blythewood, South Carolina, by her father, Ballentine. On or around June 10, 1999, Hall completed a license application for a mobile home, listing herself and Ballentine as co-owners. On July 6, 1999, Respondents entered into a credit and sale contract (the Contract) with Green Tree through which the parties agreed Green Tree would finance Respondents' purchase of a mobile home. Under the terms of the Contract, Green Tree agreed to loan Respondents approximately $68,000 with an adjustable interest rate. Hall agreed to serve as the primary obligor with Ballentine as the secondary obligor.
The Contract contained the following arbitration clause:
[413 S.C. 270] ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES AND WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL
a. Dispute Resolution.
Any controversy or claim between or among you and me or our assignees
arising out of or relating to this Contract or any agreements or instruments
relating to or delivered in connection with this Contract, including any claim
based on or arising from an alleged tort, shall, if requested by either you or
me, be determined by arbitration, reference, or trial by a judge as provided
. . .
Since this contract touches and concerns interstate commerce, an arbitration under this Contract shall be conducted in accordance with the [Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. § § 1-307 (2009 & Supp. 2014)], notwithstanding any choice of law provision in this Contract. The Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (" AAA" ) also shall apply. The arbitrator(s) shall follow the law and shall give effect to statutes of limitation in ...