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Hartman v. Charter Communications, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

April 17, 2015

RICHARD H. HARTMAN, II Plaintiff,
v.
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC.; CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, LLC; CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS (NC), LLC; CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS VI, LLC; CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS VII, LLC; CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS HOLDING COMPANY, LLC; CHARTER CABLE OPERATING COMPANY, LLC; STRAIGHT FORWARD OF WISCONSIN, INC. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

MARTIN REIDINGER, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Arbitration with Respect to Charter Communications, Inc. [Doc. 18] and the Defendants' Response Opposing in Part and Agreeing in Part to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Arbitration [Doc. 20].

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff initiated this action on September 15, 2014, seeking damages from the Charter Defendants for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"). [Doc. 1]. On February 9, 2015, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint adding Straight Forward of Wisconsin, Inc. ("Straight Forward") as a Defendant. [Doc. 16].

The Plaintiff specifically alleged the following:

• This action arises out of facts and circumstances surrounding a series of unlawful "auto-dialed" telemarketing telephone calls the Defendants made to the Plaintiff's cellular telephone. [Doc. 16, Intro.].
• Charter Communications, Inc. ("Charter") is vicariously liable for the unlawful conduct of Straight Forward as alleged herein, as Charter had control and provided direction to Straight Forward, and the unlawful calls were placed on behalf of Charter Communications, Inc. [Doc. 16, ¶ 17].
• Straight Forward, on behalf of Charter, began calling the Plaintiff's cellular telephone... for the purpose of soliciting the Plaintiff to purchase cable television and other services. [Doc. 16, ¶ 18].
• Charter and/or Straight Forward used an auto-dialer to place telemarketing calls to Plaintiff's cellular telephone on numerous occasions... [Doc. 16, ¶ 25].

The agreement between the Plaintiff and Charter Communications, Inc. (the "Agreement") contained an arbitration provision:

... This Agreement requires the use of arbitration to resolve disputes and otherwise limits the remedies available to Subscriber in the event of a dispute... Charter and Subscriber agrees to arbitrate disputes and claims arising out of or relating to this Agreement, the Services or marketing of the Services Subscriber has received from Charter... THIS AGREEMENT MEMORIALIZES A TRANSACTION IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE. THE FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT GOVERNS THE INTERPRETATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THESE ARBITRATION PROVISIONS.

[Doc. 18-1, Section 24].

The Plaintiff filed his Motion to Compel Arbitration with Respect to Defendant Charter Communications, Inc. on February 18, 2015 [Doc. 18], and the Charter Defendants responded opposing in part and agreeing in part to the Plaintiff's motion [Docs. 20-21]. On March 30, 2015, this Court ordered Charter Communications, Inc.; Charter Communications, LLC; Charter Communications (NC), LLC; Charter Communications VI, LLC; Charter Communications VII, LLC; Charter Communications Holding Company, LLC; and Charter Cable Operating Company ("the Charter Defendants") to file their required Rule 7.1 corporate disclosures informing this Court of their relationships to one another [Doc. 25]. Further, this Court also ordered Straight Forward of Wisconsin, Inc. ("Straight Forward") to respond with its position regarding the Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Arbitration with Respect to Charter Communications, Inc. [Doc. 18] and the Defendants' Response Opposing in Part and Agreeing in Part to ...


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