The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court are Defendants' Renewed Motion to Stay and Compel Arbitration and their Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons stated herein, the motions are denied.
The Court set out in some detail this case's background in its October 31, 2011 opinion, and will not repeat it all here. Some new information has been provided; unfortunately, much of it comes in the form of emails for which no one has explained the identity and affiliation of the senders and/or recipients.
Plaintiff Thomas D. Philipsborn Irrevocable Insurance Trust (the "Plaintiff") is an Illinois trust. Defendant Avon Capital, LLC ("Avon") is a Connecticut limited liability company and Defendant Donald Trudeau ("Trudeau") (collectively, the "Defendants") is a Connecticut resident and a manager and member of Avon.
In 2007 and 2008, Plaintiff and Defendants engaged in a series of transactions that involved the sale of three insurance policies which insured the life of Thomas Philipsborn. The Complaint and its exhibits indicate that Trudeau was a primary contact for Plaintiff and its agents.
Defendants contend that they sent Plaintiff three sale agreements -- one for each policy -- that were virtually identical but for the name of the policy at issue and the purchase price. Each, they claim, contained arbitration agreements. Defendants state that Plaintiff executed and returned two of the sales agreements, but never returned the agreement at issue here ("the AXA policy"). Although it claimed otherwise in its complaint in arbitration (discussed below), Plaintiff now appears to contend that it never received a sales agreement for the AXA policy. Instead, it claims that the contract for (at least) the AXA policy was reflected in a series of written and oral promises -- none of which included an arbitration agreement.
The sales of the first two policies -- for which there are executed sales agreements -- proceeded successfully. The AXA policy was not yet outside of the contestability period, however, and so was sold separately. Plaintiff claims that it transferred the AXA policy to Defendants, but never received the full purchase price.
Defendants claim that a third party took possession of the AXA policy, at least initially.
As discussed below, Plaintiff initially brought this action as a complaint in arbitration against Avon alone. In this suit, Plaintiff alleges causes of action for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment relating to the sale of the AXA policy. Each count is brought against both Avon and Trudeau. Defendants have moved to dismiss Trudeau, and to stay and compel arbitration regarding the remainder of the suit.
A. Motion to Stay and Compel Arbitration
The Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") obliges courts to stay proceedings and compel arbitration if an issue in litigation is covered by a valid arbitration agreement. See Van Tassell v. United Mktg. Grp., LLC, 795 F.Supp.2d 770, 786 (N.D. Ill. July 5, 2011). To compel arbitration, the Court must find that a written arbitration agreement existed. See Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Watts Indus., Inc., 417 F.3d 682, 690 (7th Cir. 2005); 9 U.S.C. § 4. If the existence of an arbitration agreement is genuinely disputed, courts proceed to trial on that issue. 9 ...