Homebuyers Warranty Corporation seeks to compel arbitration

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 18, 2013

CHARLESTON – Homebuyers Warranty Corporation has filed a petition to compel arbitration against a Cross Lanes woman who has allegedly refused to abide by the arbitration agreement in her warranty.

National Home Insurance Company and New Home Warranty Insurance Company are also petitioners in the suit.

Lois Hanna entered into a contract with Innovative Design & Construction whereby Innovative agreed to sell Hanna a home it was constructing in Cross Lanes, according to a complaint filed Feb. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston.

The petitioners claim the agreement between Hanna and Innovative included an agreement by Innovative to procure a Homebuyers Warranty Corporation warranty for the home.

In November 2011, HBW received a structural defect claim under Hanna’s warranty and referred the claim to New Home Warranty Insurance Company for investigation and it, in turn, enlisted the assistance of National Home Insurance Company to investigate and adjust the claim under Hanna’s warranty, according to the suit.

Hanna contends that their response to her warranty claim has been improper, fraudulent and in bad faith. She filed suit against them, Innovative and other parties in Kanawha Circuit Court in 2012.

The petitioners deny Hanna’s allegations, deny that she states valid claims for relief and intend to plead arbitration as an affirmative defense when they respond to her state court complaint, according to the suit.

The arbitration agreement in Hanna’s warranty applies to all of her claims against the petitioners, according to the suit. However, Hanna contends that she is not bound by the arbitration agreement because it is unconscionable.

The petitioners are seeking that Hanna be ordered to arbitrate all claims alleged against them in accordance with the agreement to arbitrate in the warranty and that the federal court should order that the state court proceedings against them be stayed as to the petitioners pending conclusion of the arbitration to be ordered. They are being represented by John P. Fuller and James W. Marshall III.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston case number: 2:13-1859

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