Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jackson v. Pasadena Receivables (Ct. of Appeals)

Filed April 11, 2007 --Opinion by Judge Alan Wilner

This case arose from a collection action in the District Court to recover judgment on a credit card debt. The debtor, Sheri Jackson, never denied that she used the credit card to purchase the items which, together with finance charges, comprise the debt and that, at some point, she simply stopped making payments on the account. She argued that, because she never signed the credit card agreement and the credit card issuer, Citibank, made no reasonable attempt to obtain her signature, the credit card agreement violates a provision of the Maryland Retail Credit Accounts Law (RCAL), codified at Maryland Code, § 12-503(e)(1) of the Commercial Law Article (CL). As a result, Ms. Jackson claimed that, in accordance with CL § 12-513(a), all of the finance charges that had ever been assessed during the nine years that she used the credit card were forfeited.

The Court disagreed and holding that the choice of law provision in credit card agreement, calling for South Dakota law to be applied to disputes arising under the agreement or in connection with the use of he card, was valid and enforceable in Maryland. The Maryland Retail Credit Account Law provision requiring that the credit card agreement be signed by buyer or that issuer make reasonable attempt to obtain buyer's signature was not such a fundamental policy of Maryland that it could override the choice of law provision.

The Opinion is available in PDF.

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