The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed an issue of first impression today regarding whether a person could seek to enforce rights under a vehicle purchasing agreement he didn't sign but then disavow other provisions set forth in the same document.
The issue in TWH, Inc. d/b/a Tom Wood Honda v. Jennifer Binford, No. 48A02-0805-CV-441, is whether Jennifer Binford was required to arbitrate her complaint of breach of warranty and fraud against the car dealer. Binford bought a used car for her son, Aaron. She was the only one to sign the purchase agreement with Tom Wood, which included an arbitration provision. Both she and Aaron signed the retail installment contract, which didn't have an arbitration provision.
Aaron didn't initially sign the purchase agreement, but he then petitioned for permissive joinder since he is the co-purchaser of the car. As such, it constitutes a judicial admission and binds him to the arbitration provision in the purchase agreement, wrote Judge Edward Najam. Binford and her son can't seek affirmative relief from the transaction and disavow the arbitration provision in the purchase agreement. Tom Wood has proven that the dispute is the type of claim the parties agreed to arbitrate, so the appellate court reversed the denial of the motion to compel arbitration and remanded with instructions for the trial court to grant Tom Wood's motion and to enter judgment accordingly.
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