Zeevi v. Citibank, N.A., No. 2:19-cv-02206-GMN-BNW (D. Nev. Feb. 16, 2021) [click for opinion]

In March 2019, Plaintiff Daniel Zeevi opened a bank account with a Las Vegas, Nevada branch of Defendant Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”). In doing so, Zeevi restricted any potential text notifications related to his transaction history to those transactions of $101.00 or greater. Zeevi claimed that Citibank nevertheless sent him text messages related to transactions less than or equal to $100.00, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA“).

In response to Zeevi’s lawsuit, Citibank filed a motion to compel arbitration in accordance with an arbitration agreement contained in a client manual that Zeevi signed when he opened the account. Zeevi opposed the motion, contending that the arbitration agreement contained in the client manual was unconscionable, and thus, unenforceable. Citibank asserted that, because the arbitration agreement contained a delegation clause reserving decisions on “claims relating to the enforceability and interpretation of … the arbitration provisions” for the arbitrator, the court should leave the question of unconscionability to the arbitrator.

The court agreed with Citibank. The court held that the parties had clearly and unmistakably assigned the arbitrability of the agreement to the arbitrator by express delegation. Thus, unless the delegation clause itself was unconscionable, the authority to decide whether the arbitration agreement was unconscionable would lie with the arbitrator. The court concluded that Zeevi had not specifically challenged the unconscionability of the delegation clause, but rather the arbitration agreement as a whole. The court therefore held that any claims that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable must be resolved by the arbitrator, and granted Citibank’s motion to compel arbitration.