The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint alleging that Defendants used abusive practices relating to health care financing. Defendants have moved to compel arbitration, or in the alternative, dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion to compel arbitration is granted.
Plaintiffs filed a three-count class action complaint. Count I alleges that Defendants induced health care providers to breach their fiduciary obligations to the plaintiffs by (1) offering them financial incentives if they persuaded plaintiffs and the class members to sign up for Defendants' financing, and (2) paying for them in advance for work not yet performed. Count II seeks declaratory relief against the arbitration clause associated with the CareCredit financing. Count III alleges that Defendants engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of 815 ILCS 505/2.
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GE Money Bank is a Federal Savings Association Bank that operates a credit card program known as CareCredit. CareCredit provides financing for elective and other non-emergency healthcare. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants offered things of value to medical providers to steer patients to Defendants for the financing of medical procedures. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants charged medical providers a fee for the right to offer financing through CareCredit, and then offered providers a partial rebate on the fee based upon the volume of business generated through CareCredit financing. Additionally, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants advanced funds to medical providers for work not yet performed, and debited patient accounts for such funds. Plaintiffs, trusting that physicians were acting in their interests, accepted the financing offer. Plaintiffs were unaware that Defendants offered incentives to medical providers per volume of business generated through CareCredit. The CareCredit financing agreements all contained an arbitration clause whereby Plaintiffs agreed to arbitrate claims that arise out of the agreement, or relate to relationships that result from the CareCredit account.
Three individual Plaintiffs complain about specific transactions. The first two transactions occurred in Illinois on August 20, 2010. There, Plaintiffs Diane Jezek ("Jezek") and Laura Moritz ("Moritz") received free heart scans from Heart Check America ("HCA"). Plaintiffs signed a 10-year Premium Plan contract for annual heart scans and bi-annual body scans amounting to $4,694.00. Plaintiffs were informed that their HCA heart scans "were reported abnormal" and they were told to "contact a physician as soon as possible." However, when Jezek "brought the heart scan results to her regular doctor, [the regular doctor] noted that the reports were not definite, and concluded that the scan was not beneficial." Thereafter, Jezek and Moritz attempted
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to cancel the contracts. HCA allegedly refused the cancellation request because it had already been paid in full by CareCredit for the Premium Plan.
Plaintiff George Gillispie ("Gillispie") alleges that in May 2006, he sought dental treatment in Indiana from Accent Dental. Gillispie received treatment, and Accent Dental arranged for Gillispie to obtain a CareCredit card, upon which a charge for services was placed.
Defendants make two alternative arguments, first asking that Plaintiffs be compelled to arbitrate their claims, and alternatively, seeking dismissal of Plaintiffs' complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs should be compelled to arbitrate their claims on two grounds. First, Defendants contend that because Plaintiffs challenge the CareCredit agreement in its entirety, it is a matter for the arbitrator, and not the court. Next, Defendants argue that the arbitration clause is valid and enforceable, and therefore Plaintiffs must arbitrate their claims. Because I find that Plaintiffs must be compelled to arbitrate their claims, I do not reach Defendants' motion to dismiss.
Arbitration can be compelled where: (1) there is a written agreement to arbitrate; (2) the dispute is within the scope of the agreement; and (3) the plaintiffs refused to arbitrate. Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Watts Indus., Inc., 417 F.3d 682, 687 (7th Cir. 2005). Plaintiffs' Complaint acknowledges that the CareCredit agreement contained an arbitration clause andPlaintiffs do not dispute that their claims fall within the scope of the clause, and that they have refused to arbitrate. They assert, however, that the arbitration clause is invalid and unenforceable for three reasons: (1) it was presented to plaintiffs ...