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Arbitration – Non-Party – Credit Card – Equitable Estoppel

Arbitration – Non-Party – Credit Card – Equitable Estoppel

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In a case arising out of the installation of a water treatment system in plaintiff’s home, defendant Home Depot is not entitled to enforce the arbitration provisions in plaintiff’s credit card contract or in his contract with the installation professional.

We affirm the trial court’s denial of Home Depot’s motion to dismiss or to stay in favor of arbitration.

Plaintiff’s “Home Depot” credit card was issued by Citibank. By its own terms, the credit card contract does not provide Home Depot with the authority to compel arbitration.

We are persuaded by the reasoning of White v. Sunoco, Inc., 870 F.3d 257 (3d Cir. 2017), which analyzed a similar argument regarding identical language in another Citibank credit card contract. The arbitration clause of the cardholder agreement says “either you or we may … elect … arbitration…” The agreement defines “you” as the cardholder and “we” as Citibank. The credit card contract does not provide Home Depot with the authority to compel arbitration.

Equitable estoppel does not apply here because plaintiff is not seeking a direct benefit from the provisions of the credit card contract while simultaneously seeking to avoid its arbitration clause.

There was also an arbitration clause in plaintiff’s original contract with the installation professional, Carolina Water Systems, Inc.; however, plaintiff then entered into a contract with Home Depot, which, by its own terms, superseded plaintiff’s contract with Carolina Water Systems. Home Depot’s contract did not include an arbitration clause. Home Depot cannot compel plaintiff to arbitrate his claims.


Jackson v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-036-21, 23 pp.) (Valerie Zachary, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Forrest Bridges, J.) Daniel Bryson, Scott Harris and Hunter Bryson for plaintiff; Lex Erwin and Stewart Haskins for defendant. 2021-NCCOA-313

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