American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus v. Parker

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Justia Opinion Summary
These consolidated appeals arose from the same facts: in 1990, Richard L. Parker applied to American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac) for a cancer-indemnity insurance policy. Aflac issued Parker a policy. The term of the 1990 policy was month-to-month; the monthly premium was $28.50. Aflac received payments for the 1990 policy from August 25, 1990, to August 17, 1996. Parker applied for a new policy in May 1996 for when the 1990 policy was set to terminate. The 1996 policy took effect August 16, 1996, and used the same number as the 1990 policy. Parker renewed the policy once again in 2009, but the 2009 policy contained an arbitration clause. By a special waiver, the 2009 policy's language stated that Parker would give up his "current" policy and its benefits for the benefits in the new one. Parker paid according to the term of the 2009 policy. But in 2010, Parker sued Aflac asserting a claim of bad faith for Aflac's alleged failing to pay policy benefits owed under the 1990 policy. Aflac responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration according to the terms of the 2009 policy. The circuit court conducted a hearing on the motion and denied it. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that Aflac satisfied its burden of proving that an arbitration agreement existed that applied to Parker's claims against it. Because there was no issue as to whether the contract containing the arbitration agreement affected interstate commerce, the burden then shifted to Parker to offer evidence refuting the evidence offered by Aflac and Hunter; Parker offered no evidence to refute that evidence and presented "no persuasive argument" that Aflac failed to meet its burden. The Court reversed the circuit court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Download PDF Rel: 03/16/2012 Notice: T h i s o p i n i o n i s s u b j e c t t o formal r e v i s i o n b e f o r e p u b l i c a t i o n i n t h e advance s h e e t s o f Southern R e p o r t e r . R e a d e r s a r e r e q u e s t e d t o n o t i f y t h e R e p o r t e r o f D e c i s i o n s , Alabama A p p e l l a t e C o u r t s , 300 D e x t e r A v e n u e , M o n t g o m e r y , A l a b a m a 3 6 1 0 4 - 3 7 4 1 ((334) 2 2 9 - 0 6 4 9 ) , o f a n y t y p o g r a p h i c a l o r o t h e r e r r o r s , i n o r d e r t h a t c o r r e c t i o n s may b e made b e f o r e t h e o p i n i o n i s p r i n t e d i n Southern R e p o r t e r . SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA OCTOBER TERM, 2011-2012 1100227 American Family L i f e Assurance Company o f Columbus v. R i c h a r d L. P a r k e r 1100282 Marilyn P h i l l i p s Hunter v. R i c h a r d L. P a r k e r Appeals from F r a n k l i n C i r c u i t (CV-10-900060) Court 1100227, 1100282 PARKER, Justice. All causes appeals Life arise of action f r o m t h e same f a c t u a l Assurance Company P h i l l i p s Hunter of in these scenario. Columbus consolidated American ("Aflac") and Marilyn to compel a r b i t r a t i o n . Circuit We reverse remand. Facts and Procedural A c c o r d i n g to the a f f i d a v i t A f l a c ' s v i c e p r e s i d e n t o f New Relations, have whose access to t e s t i m o n y o f T y l e r G. Business Operations affidavit Aflac's History testimony business indicates records Parker policy. number term applied to A f l a c and Account he did maintained in the 1990, cancer-indemnity Richard insurance Aflac issued Parker a cancer-indemnity policy, A2043738, of the p r e m i u m was on 1990 $28.50. July 17, 1996. "Progressive Payout 16, policy 1990 was The 1990 1990 ("the 1990 affidavit policy policy Benefit": 2 the indicates as The monthly that f r o m A u g u s t 25, provided policy policy"). month-to-month; Bennett's r e c e i v e d payment f o r the August for a Bennett, that o r d i n a r y c o u r s e o f A f l a c ' s b u s i n e s s , on J u l y 12, L. Family appeal from a judgment of the F r a n k l i n Court denying t h e i r motions and involved Aflac 1990, follows to for a 1100227, 1100282 "We w i l l p a y t o t h e Named I n s u r e d a s p r o v i d e d b e l o w , an i n d e m n i t y b e n e f i t e q u a l t o $30 ( T h i r t y D o l l a r s ) p e r month f o r each whole month t h i s p o l i c y i s i n force subject t o the dates t h i s b e n e f i t ceases t o build. This benefit w i l l cease to b u i l d f o r the Named I n s u r e d o n : t h e d a t e o f t h e i n i t i a l d i a g n o s i s of i n t e r n a l c a n c e r ; t h e p o l i c y a n n i v e r s a r y d a t e n e x t f o l l o w i n g t h e Named I n s u r e d ' s 6 5 t h b i r t h d a y ; o r , t h e 20th p o l i c y anniversary, whichever occurs first. H o w e v e r , r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e a g e o f t h e Named I n s u r e d on t h e ' E f f e c t i v e D a t e ' o f t h i s p o l i c y , t h i s b e n e f i t s h a l l accrue f o r a p e r i o d of at least 5 years unless i n t e r n a l cancer i s diagnosed p r i o r to the 5th year of coverage. "This b e n e f i t w i l l be p a i d o n : t h e d a t e t h e Named I n s u r e d i s initially diagnosed as having i n t e r n a l c a n c e r ; the 20th p o l i c y a n n i v e r s a r y d a t e ; or, the date t h e Named I n s u r e d a t t a i n s age 79, whichever occurs f i r s t . This b e n e f i t i s payable only o n c e i n t h e l i f e t i m e o f t h e Named I n s u r e d . " On May 9, 1 9 9 6 , P a r k e r s u b m i t t e d t o A f l a c for an " A p p l i c a t i o n Cancer indicates Parker's 1990 Insurance." "application ... policy would Bennett's f o r a new p o l i c y terminate c a n c e r p o l i c y became e f f e c t i v e . effective on A u g u s t e f f e c t i v e August Insurance" conversion cancer on 16, 1996." the date t h e new [ P a r k e r ' s ] 1996 p o l i c y that Parker's i t was o f t h e 1990 p o l i c y . stated, "Application an The a p p l i c a t i o n 1996 became terminated f o r Cancer application i n pertinent part: 3 that p r o v i d e d t h a t t h e ... 16, 1 9 9 6 , a n d t h e 1990 p o l i c y indicated policy affidavit f o r the f o r t h e new 1100227, 1100282 " 5 . I f t h i s i s an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r an u p g r a d e o f coverage, the f o l l o w i n g conditions a p p l y : (a) I f cancer is diagnosed between the date this a p p l i c a t i o n i s s i g n e d and t h e E f f e c t i v e Date o f t h e p o l i c y shown i n t h e P o l i c y S c h e d u l e , t h e p o l i c y f o r w h i c h t h i s a p p l i c a t i o n i s made s h a l l be v o i d , and coverage s h a l l c o n t i n u e under the terms of the previous policy, w h i c h may remain i n force. Any benefits t h a t may be due w i l l be p a i d under the p r e v i o u s p o l i c y . (b) The w a i t i n g p e r i o d a n d t h e T i m e L i m i t on C e r t a i n D e f e n s e s p r o v i s i o n s h a l l r u n f r o m the E f f e c t i v e Date o f t h e o r i g i n a l p o l i c y , and t h e original policy will be t e r m i n a t e d as of the E f f e c t i v e D a t e o f t h e new p o l i c y . " A c a n c e r i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y was 1996 policy"), month, and had the The t e r m o f t h e 1996 and affidavit policy the monthly indicates from October On August "Application application policy; that 18, 5, for however, Aflac issued I n s u r a n c e " p o l i c y on A u g u s t -- same p o l i c y A2043738. with Parker's n u m b e r as t h e 1990 Bennett's affidavit application for 4 8, 1990 f o r the a to "Cancer Aflac and indicates for a the 2009 policy new Indemnity t h e 1996 that an Parker's ("the 2 0 0 9 p o l i c y " ) , policy 1996 2009. application Parker 16, 2 0 0 9 the Bennett's Insurance." an ("the month-to- submitted i t was as payment to August Indemnity that number 1996 $35.90. was Parker 16, p o l i c y was received 1996, Cancer Aflac policy premium 2009, indicated same on A u g u s t A2043738. policy the issued with policy submitted was an 1100227, 1100282 "Arbitration Agreement" according to Bennett, beginning the attached was a "true application The was a underwriting 2009 A p p l i c a t i o n . " was ("the to arbitration "condition Aflac process In f a c t , the correct cop[y]," agreement and and before August a copy of which includes which, required [Parker's] 2009 p o l i c y , affidavit f o r t h e 2009 p o l i c y arbitration on Bennett's and agreement"), Bennett both the a r b i t r a t i o n 5, which swore Parker's agreement. states: "I, RICHARD PARKER have a p p l i e d f o r a p o l i c y o f i n s u r a n c e f r o m A F L A C [ ] and i f AFLAC w i l l issue the policy to me, I want to make this agreement w i t h AFLAC. 1 "I agree t h a t b i n d i n g a r b i t r a t i o n to resolve the following claims, lawsuits: w i l l be u s e d disputes or " 1 . Any and a l l c l a i m s , d i s p u t e s or l a w s u i t s t h a t I have c o n c e r n i n g my AFLAC p o l i c y ; and/or "2. Any c l a i m s , d i s p u t e s o r l a w s u i t s t h a t I have c o n c e r n i n g any r e l a t i o n s h i p s that my AFLAC insurance policy creates and/or "3. Any c l a i m s , d i s p u t e s o r l a w s u i t s c o n c e r n i n g the v a l i d i t y of t h i s a r b i t r a t i o n agreement; and/or Although "Aflac" is capitalized i n the arbitration agreement, i t does not appear from other p o r t i o n s of the r e c o r d t h a t t h e e n t i t y u s e s a l l c a p i t a l l e t t e r s when r e f e r r i n g to i t s e l f . 1 5 1100227, 1100282 "4. lawsuits proposed employee of f r a u d Any and a l l claims, disputes or t h a t I h a v e t h a t come up f r o m t h e s a l e o f t h e p o l i c y by any a g e n t o r o f AFLAC, i n c l u d i n g any a l l e g a t i o n or improper a c t . "I u n d e r s t a n d t h a t b i n d i n g a r b i t r a t i o n i s the hearing and d e t e r m i n i n g of a d i s p u t e I have w i t h A F L A C b y t h r e e p e r s o n s , one c h o s e n b y me, one c h o s e n by AFLAC and a t h i r d n e u t r a l p e r s o n a p p o i n t e d by my representative and AFLAC's representative by agreement. I also understand that i f my representative and AFLAC's r e p r e s e n t a t i v e cannot agree on a third neutral party then a list of arbitrators will be provided by the American A r b i t r a t i o n A s s o c i a t i o n t o my representative and AFLAC's r e p r e s e n t a t i v e who will then select the third neutral arbitrator from that list. I u n d e r s t a n d t h a t I w i l l have the c h o i c e of having AFLAC pay the f e e s of t h e t h i r d n e u t r a l a r b i t r a t o r o r i f I p r e f e r , AFLAC and I w i l l e q u a l l y d i v i d e t h e e x p e n s e s and f e e s o f t h e t h i r d n e u t r a l a r b i t r a t o r . B o t h I a n d A F L A C a g r e e a n d u n d e r s t a n d t h a t we are choosing ARBITRATION INSTEAD OF LITIGATION to r e s o l v e any o f t h e above d e s c r i b e d d i s p u t e s . B o t h I and AFLAC understand that we have a right or o p p o r t u n i t y to l i t i g a t e d i s p u t e s through the court b u t t h a t we p r e f e r t o r e s o l v e o u r d i s p u t e s through arbitration. " B o t h I and AFLAC v o l u n t a r i l y and with full understanding WAIVE ANY RIGHT WE HAVE TO A JURY TRIAL. This w a i v e r a p p l i e s e i t h e r to arbitration under t h i s agreement or to a c o u r t a c t i o n f i l e d by me. B o t h I and AFLAC a g r e e and u n d e r s t a n d t h a t a l l disputes a r i s i n g under law, w h e t h e r made b y the c o u r t s o r t h e l e g i s l a t u r e o r any o t h e r law which i n c l u d e s but i s not l i m i t e d to a l l c o n t r a c t , tort a n d t h i r d p a r t y d i s p u t e s , w i l l be d e c i d e d b y t h e u s e 6 1100227, 1100282 of binding arbitration. The three arbitrators s e l e c t e d w i l l meet, s e t a d a t e f o r a h e a r i n g , n o t i f y A F L A C a n d me o f t h a t d a t e , h a v e a h e a r i n g a n d make the final d e c i s i o n . Both I and AFLAC a g r e e and u n d e r s t a n d t h a t the a r b i t r a t o r s s h a l l have a l l power p r o v i d e d by t h e law s u b j e c t t o t h i s a g r e e m e n t and the insurance policy. AFLAC and I agree and u n d e r s t a n d t h a t my i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y w i t h A F L A C a n d all related matters are business transactions i n v o l v i n g i n t e r s t a t e c o m m e r c e a n d s h a l l be g o v e r n e d b y t h e F e d e r a l A r b i t r a t i o n a c t a t 9 U.S.C. S e c t i o n 1. "AFLAC and I u n d e r s t a n d t h a t t h i s a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t c o n s t i t u t e s a p o r t i o n o f my application f o r i n s u r a n c e . AFLAC and I f u r t h e r u n d e r s t a n d t h a t t h e r e i s no i n s u r a n c e c o n t r a c t u n l e s s a n d u n t i l my a p p l i c a t i o n i s a c c e p t e d by AFLAC. Upon a c c e p t a n c e o f my application by AFLAC, as evidenced by the i s s u a n c e o f an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y , t h i s arbitration a g r e e m e n t s h a l l be i n c o r p o r a t e d b y t h i s reference into any insurance policy issued. The overall Insurance C o n t r a c t s h a l l c o n s i s t of t h i s A r b i t r a t i o n Agreement, the a p p l i c a t i o n for insurance and the insurance policy. fl "By my s i g n a t u r e b e l o w , I a g r e e t h a t I h a v e t h i s A r b i t r a t i o n A g r e e m e n t and u n d e r s t a n d i t . " (Capitalization and some e m p h a s i s i n o r i g i n a l ; f i n a l added.) The Bennett's affidavit Application 'the arbitration for original a states Cancer policy agreement will that policy terminated 7 signed Parker's Insurance be was as read emphasis by "August Parker. 5, acknowledged of the 2009, that Effective 1100227, Date of 1100282 the new p o l i c y ' " and current p o l i c y and the policy.'" new August 16, policy, 2009, and i t s benefits the The monthly Parker f o r the Bennett's a f f i d a v i t when A f l a c [Parker's] terminated." that issued earlier term of the premium new is Insurance $61.75. On 14, 2009, August of b a d - f a i t h to 25, 2010, failure Parker under alleged the the "the Parker t o pay 1990 present Insurance was month-to-month, affidavit 2009 p o l i c y f r o m date." asserting policy benefits following pertinent in "[o]n policy Bennett's sued A f l a c policy. that Cancer 2009 p o l i c y i s his provided states i n d i c a t e s t h a t A f l a c r e c e i v e d payment f o r the September " ' g i v i n g up benefits also the Cancer was In his a claim a l l e g e d l y owed complaint, to Parker facts: " 3 . The 2 0 t h a n n i v e r s a r y o f [ t h e 1990] policy o c c u r r e d on J u l y 16, 2 0 1 0 . The a m o u n t o f P r o g r e s s i v e P a y o u t B e n e f i t s h o u l d h a v e b e e n $ 7 , 2 0 0 . 0 0 on that d a t e . [ P a r k e r ] w r o t e [ A f l a c ] on N o v e m b e r 9, 2 0 0 9 , t o c o n f i r m t h a t he w o u l d r e c e i v e t h a t b e n e f i t b e c a u s e h i s a g e n t had t o l d h i m he w o u l d n o t r e c e i v e such b e n e f i t b e c a u s e he had purchased a supplemental p o l i c y f r o m A [ f l a c ] i n May 1 9 9 6 . ... No r e s p o n s e was made t o t h i s l e t t e r a n d no p a y m e n t o f t h i s b e n e f i t has been f o r t h c o m i n g d e s p i t e [ P a r k e r ' s ] entitlement to the b e n e f i t . " Parker that then Aflac alleged had that "acted Aflac i n bad had breached faith through 8 the 1990 policy, [its] refusal to 1100227, 1100282 pay," t h a t A f l a c had and deceit and complaint dated the On of policy to and 2009, the a contents 2010, "fraud, Parker of w h i c h were Parker Against attached from amended t h e Hunter, misrepresentation, sold a Parker deceit to to his Aflac summarized complaint amended c o m p l a i n t " t h a t p e r s o n o r a g e n t who [Parker]." misrepresentation, Parker letter a defendant; Parker's H u n t e r was policy suppression." S e p t e m b e r 14, H u n t e r as that 1990 N o v e m b e r 9, above. add fraudulent "engaged i n f r a u d , to alleged supplemental asserted and claims fraudulent suppression." On Aflac October filed against 2010, Aflac. R. based on the arbitration a motion to compel a r b i t r a t i o n arbitration Virgil 1, Aflac with the Miller, supported its following evidence: of Parker's claims motion compel 1) the Aflac's vice president of to affidavit Client 2) Bennett's a f f i d a v i t ; 3) the a p p l i c a t i o n f o r the and the policy 1990 and policy the 2009 p o l i c y and agreement. he is 1996 itself; policy t h e 2009 p o l i c y by Aflac the itself; In h i s a f f i d a v i t employed 4) as 5) the 1990 testimony, i t s vice policy the 1996 application for and 6) t h e Miller the arbitration testified president of Services; application for itself; 9 agreement, of that Client 1100227, 1100282 S e r v i c e s and t h a t t h e a r b i t r a t i o n agreement motion the to compel arbitration Arbitration [Parker]. Agreement filed compel Motion entered business a motion " t o compel arbitration, join[ed] Hunter 22, motion to 2010, stated correct between copy Aflac set for[th] filed arbitration. arbitration 2010, to "adopt[ed] and by AFLAC i n i t s set forth herein." a opposing motion Parker argued s h o u l d be d e n i e d On November the Hunter 1990 that because Parker any on ordinary u n d i s p u t e d l y d i d n o t i n c l u d e an a r b i t r a t i o n p r o v i s i o n . submit based and In her motion she i f fully of which not are as the policy, did claims O c t o b e r 20, that Parker compel A f l a c ' s motion to compel Parker's into On i n t h e m o t i o n and g r o u n d s October Aflac's and arbitration. to Enforce A r b i t r a t i o n On "a t r u e I t i s a b u s i n e s s record m a i n t a i n e d i n the course of A f l a c ' s also was submitted with evidence i n support of h i s motion. 2, 2010, the circuit court h e a r i n g on A f l a c ' s a n d H u n t e r ' s m o t i o n s t o c o m p e l and on Hunter for November 8, separately the purpose 2010, i t denied appealed. of w r i t i n g We motions. have c o n s o l i d a t e d one Standard the opinion. of 10 Review conducted a arbitration, Aflac and the appeals 1100227, 1100282 "'This C o u r t ' s review of an order g r a n t i n g or d e n y i n g a motion to compel arbitration i s de novo. First American T i t l e I n s . C o r p . v . S i l v e r n e l l , 744 So. 2 d 8 8 3 , 886 ( A l a . 1 9 9 9 ) ; C r i m s o n I n d u s . , I n c . v. K i r k l a n d , 736 So. 2 d 597 , 600 ( A l a . 199 9 ) ; P a t r i c k Home C t r . , I n c . v . K a r r , 73 0 So. 2 d 1171 ( A l a . 1 9 9 9 ) . ' " U n i t e d W i s c o n s i n L i f e I n s . Co. v . T a n k e r s l e y , 88 0 So. 2 d 3 8 5 , 389 ( A l a . 2 0 0 3 ) . F u r t h e r m o r e : "'"A m o t i o n t o c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n is analogous to a motion for summary j u d g m e n t . T r a n S o u t h F i n . C o r p . v . B e l l , 739 So. 2 d 1110, 1114 (Ala. 1999). The party s e e k i n g t o compel a r b i t r a t i o n has the burden of proving the e x i s t e n c e of a c o n t r a c t calling f o r a r b i t r a t i o n and p r o v i n g t h a t that contract evidences a transaction affecting interstate commerce. I d . ' A f t e r a m o t i o n t o c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n h a s b e e n made a n d s u p p o r t e d , t h e b u r d e n i s on the non-movant to present evidence that the supposed arbitration agreement is not valid or does not a p p l y t o t h e dispute i n question."' " ' F l e e t w o o d E n t e r s . , I n c . v . B r u n o , 7 84 So. 2 d 2 7 7 , 280 ( A l a . 2 0 0 0 ) ( q u o t i n g J i m B u r k e A u t o . , I n c . v . B e a v e r s , 674 So. 2 d 12 60 , 1265 n. 1 ( A l a . 1995) ( e m p h a s i s o m i t t e d ) ) . ' "Vann v. F i r s t Cmty. 753 ( A l a . 2 0 0 2 ) . " Cartwright v. M a i t l a n d , 30 Credit Corp., So. 405, 11 3d 834 So. 408-09 2d 751, ( A l a . 2009). 1100227, 1100282 Discussion In Green Tree F i n a n c i a l Corp. So. 2d 497, 501-02 (Ala. 1999), o f A l a b a m a v. this Court Vintson, 7 53 held: "Section 2 of the Federal A r b i t r a t i o n Act ('FAA') p r o v i d e s t h a t ' [ a ] w r i t t e n p r o v i s i o n i n a n y ... contract evidencing a transaction involving [interstate] commerce t o s e t t l e by arbitration a c o n t r o v e r s y t h e r e a f t e r a r i s i n g out of such c o n t r a c t o r t r a n s a c t i o n ... s h a l l be v a l i d , i r r e v o c a b l e , a n d enforceable.' 9 U.S.C. § 2. M o r e o v e r , t h e S u p r e m e C o u r t of t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s has s t a t e d t h a t t h e FAA establishes a strong federal policy favoring a r b i t r a t i o n . M o s e s H. C o n e Mem'l H o s p . v . M e r c u r y C o n s t r . C o r p . , 460 U.S. 1, 2 4 - 2 5 , 103 S. C t . 927, 74 L. E d . 2d 765 ( 1 9 8 3 ) ( t h e FAA ' e s t a b l i s h e s t h a t , as a m a t t e r o f f e d e r a l l a w , any d o u b t s c o n c e r n i n g the s c o p e o f a r b i t r a b l e i s s u e s s h o u l d be r e s o l v e d i n f a v o r of a r b i t r a t i o n ' ) . A c c o r d i n g l y , trial courts a r e r e q u i r e d t o s t a y or d i s m i s s p r o c e e d i n g s and to c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n when t h e p a r t i e s h a v e entered into a valid contract containing an arbitration a g r e e m e n t , and a t r i a l c o u r t ' s d e n i a l o f a m o t i o n t o c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n i s s u b j e c t t o a p p e a l . See, e.g., P a t r i c k Home C e n t e r , I n c . v . K a r r , 730 So. 2d 1171, 1172 ( A l a . 1 9 9 9 ) . T h i s C o u r t w i l l a p p l y t h e de n o v o s t a n d a r d of review to a t r i a l c o u r t ' s order d e n y i n g a motion to compel a r b i t r a t i o n . I d . " First, initial burdens arbitration upon the the Aflac Hunter argue in proving that existed. a they for Aflac Hunter rely submitted to Bennett, the and d e t a i l e d above; the arbitration 12 their calling f o l l o w i n g evidence Miller satisfied contract arguing, of In that so affidavits which are and the and circuit pertinent agreement; court: parts of Parker's 1100227, 1100282 application Parker's itself; for 1990 application and itself. establish the the argues was attached the a r b i t r a t i o n was calling As 1990 in turn, in and the undisputed was terminated p r o d u c i n g the in 2009 p o l i c y , The the set calling parties arbitration favor arbitration and and Hunter is no the failed existed. evidence at the motions in agreement brief, p. 18. evidence to that a forth the 1996 the of 2009 agreement. their arbitration have s t i p u l a t e d agreement above compel contract that evidences 13 burden shows, policy, which Therefore, of the which, policy, which i n c o r p o r a t e d the H u n t e r met for policy agreement their evidence the contract and Hunter's argument t h a t t e r m i n a t e d i n f a v o r of agreement, A f l a c 1996 2009 p o l i c y Parker's of itself; existed. incorporated a the s u f f i c i e n t evidence i n d i c a t i n g arbitration was policy purported arbitration support for policy the "[t]here 2009 p o l i c y . " agree w i t h A f l a c ' s presented for that r e c o r d t h a t shows t h a t the they and arbitration the We 1990 policy 1996 the Parker argues that A f l a c Parker to and application that Specifically, policy for Parker's 2009 p o l i c y to the by arbitration proving that existed. the a contract transaction containing affecting 1100227, 1100282 interstate present not commerce. evidence valid Thus, t h e b u r d e n s h i f t e d that or does the supposed a r b i t r a t i o n not apply to the dispute Cartwright, supra appeal " [ t ] h e r e i s no e v i d e n c e that that 2009 p o l i c y " set f o r t h attached 2009 t o t h e a f f i d a v i t was which Parker record a g r e e m e n t was incorporated that attached shows to the of t h i s case. As indicates that and c o r r e c t copy o f t h e the has i n c o r r e c t l y a r g u m e n t on arbitration agreement. i n t e r p r e t e d the evidence i n record. In support of h i s argument t h a t the a r b i t r a t i o n not a v a l i d c o n t r a c t "[i]t i s important to a g r e e m e n t was n o t s i g n e d a t p. 19. However, that the arbitration sign i t University So. in this a true question."'" Parker's i s not c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the f a c t s policy, the arbitration cases). agreement i s in above, Bennett's a f f i d a v i t testimony Therefore, is (quoting other the purported to Parker "'"to with any to a r b i t r a t e , note that on b e h a l f Parker purported o f AFLAC." fails authority. because This of South Alabama v. P r o g r e s s i v e 2d 1242, 1247-48 a l s o argues ( A l a . 2004), 14 that arbitration Parker's has f a i l e d t o support agreement legal the Parker agreement brief, h i s argument Aflac held in I n s u r a n c e Co., 90 4 as f o l l o w s : Court d i d not 1100227, 1100282 " R u l e 2 8 ( a ) ( 1 0 ) , A l a . R. A p p . P., r e q u i r e s t h a t arguments in an appellant's ... brief contain 'citations to the cases, statutes, other a u t h o r i t i e s , and p a r t s o f t h e r e c o r d r e l i e d on.' The e f f e c t of a f a i l u r e to comply w i t h Rule 28(a)(10) i s well established: " ' I t i s s e t t l e d t h a t a f a i l u r e to comply w i t h the r e q u i r e m e n t s of Rule 28(a)([10]) requiring citation of authority for arguments p r o v i d e s the Court w i t h a b a s i s f o r d i s r e g a r d i n g those arguments: "'"When an appellant fails to cite any authority for an a r g u m e n t on a p a r t i c u l a r issue, this Court may affirm the j u d g m e n t as t o t h a t i s s u e , f o r i t i s n e i t h e r t h i s C o u r t ' s d u t y nor its function to perform an appellant's legal research. Rule 2 8(a) ( [ 1 0 ] ) ; Spradlin v. B i r m i n g h a m A i r p o r t A u t h o r i t y , 613 So. 2d 347 (Ala. 1993)." " ' C i t y o f B i r m i n g h a m v. B u s i n e s s Realty I n v . Co., 722 So. 2d 7 4 7 , 752 (Ala. 1998). See a l s o M c L e m o r e v . F l e m i n g , 604 So. 2d 353 (Ala. 1992); Stover v. A l a b a m a Farm Bureau Ins. Co., 467 So. 2d 251 (Ala. 1 9 8 5 ) ; a n d Ex p a r t e R i l e y , 464 So. 2d 92 (Ala. 1985).' "Ex p a r t e S h o w e r s , 812 So. 2d 2 7 7 , 281 (Ala. 2001). '[W]e cannot create legal arguments f o r a party based on undelineated general propositions u n s u p p o r t e d by a u t h o r i t y or a r g u m e n t . ' S p r a d l i n v. S p r a d l i n , 601 So. 2d 76, 79 ( A l a . 1 9 9 2 ) . " Therefore, we need not consider 15 this argument. 1100227, 1100282 Moreover, executed other a valid Merrill In representative agreement was 751 a to him by Lynch. Merrill Lynch; agreement. agreement, Lynch Lynch's no Fenner to the i n t h e CMA motion, sued arbitration agreement; and CMA dispute client compel of Lynch i n the A & ("CMA") Merrill agreement." the i n ways a client Included and moved agreement denied M e r r i l l Pierce, ( A l a . 1999), Merrill CMA b a s e d upon t h e a r b i t r a t i o n court 8 of existed demonstrated Lynch, a "predispute arbitration the Hunter for arbitration c a n be 2d nor cash-management-account s i g n e d t h e CMA concerning trial So. Aflac i s not d i s p o s i t i v e Merrill executed offered neither agreement execution. Lynch's agreement Merrill that contract calling I n c . v. K i l g o r e , arose fact acceptance of a c o n t r a c t than Smith, mere the a r b i t r a t i o n i s s u e whether because the Merrill the Lynch appealed. On erred appeal, M e r r i l l i n denying the basis the CMA no agreement reversing motion that i t s motion argued to representative containing the t r i a l to compel Lynch court's "that compel the a r b i t r a t i o n arbitration, this 16 trial arbitration of M e r r i l l judgment the Lynch solely had stated: on signed agreement." denying M e r r i l l Court court In Lynch's 1100227, So. 1100282 "In A l l i e d - B r u c e Terminix Cos. 2d 102 ( A l a . 1 9 9 5 ) , we w r o t e : v. Dobson, 68 4 " ' " T h e A r b i t r a t i o n A c t e s t a b l i s h e s t h a t , as a matter of federal law, any doubts concerning the scope of a r b i t r a b l e i s s u e s s h o u l d be r e s o l v e d i n f a v o r o f a r b i t r a t i o n , whether the problem at hand is the construction of the contract language i t s e l f o r an a l l e g a t i o n o f w a i v e r , delay, or l i k e defense to a r b i t r a b i l i t y . " ' "684 So. 2d a t 107 ( q u o t i n g M o s e s H. C o n e M e m o r i a l H o s p . v . M e r c u r y C o n s t r . C o r p . , 460 U.S. 1, 2 4 - 2 5 , 103 S. C t . 927, 74 L. E d . 2d 765 (1983)). However, we h a v e h e l d t h a t a p a r t y c a n n o t be required to a r b i t r a t e a d i s p u t e t h a t he o r s h e d i d n o t a g r e e t o a r b i t r a t e . See C a p i t a l I n v . G r o u p , I n c . v . W o o d s o n , 694 So. 2d 1268 (Ala. 1997). fl "This C o u r t has held that the object of a s i g n a t u r e on a c o n t r a c t i s t o show m u t u a l i t y and assent, and that mutuality and assent can be manifested i n ways o t h e r than a signature. See L a w l e r M o b i l e Homes, I n c . v . T a r v e r , 492 So. 2d 297 ( A l a . 1 9 8 6 ) ; Ex p a r t e P o i n t e r , 714 So. 2d 971 (Ala. 1997). Unless required by a statute to be in w r i t i n g , a c o n t r a c t d o e s n o t h a v e t o be s i g n e d t o be enforceable, so l o n g as i t i s a c c e p t e d a n d acted u p o n . T a r v e r , 492 So. 2d a t 304. " A l t h o u g h no r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of M e r r i l l Lynch s i g n e d t h e CMA a g r e e m e n t , t h e a b s e n c e o f a s i g n a t u r e by a M e r r i l l L y n c h e m p l o y e e does not i n v a l i d a t e t h e agreement. 'The [Federal Arbitration Act] only r e q u i r e s t h a t t h e r e be a " w r i t t e n p r o v i s i o n " i n a "contract"; i t does not specify that a party's assent to the terms of a c o n t r a c t containing an a r b i t r a t i o n p r o v i s i o n c a n be e v i d e n c e d o n l y b y t h a t p a r t y ' s s i g n a t u r e . ' Ex p a r t e R u s h , 730 So. 2d 1175 17 1100227, 1100282 ( A l a . 1 9 9 9 ) . C o n d u c t o f one p a r t y t o a c o n t r a c t f r o m w h i c h t h e o t h e r may r e a s o n a b l y d r a w an i n f e r e n c e o f a s s e n t t o an a g r e e m e n t i s e f f e c t i v e as a c c e p t a n c e . A n d e r s o n B r o t h e r s C h r y s l e r P l y m o u t h Dodge, I n c . v. H a d l e y , 720 So. 2 d 895 ( A l a . 1998) (the f a i l u r e of a p a r t y t o s i g n a c o n t r a c t on a s i g n a t u r e l i n e n e x t to an arbitration p r o v i s i o n d i d not render the provision unenforceable). In addition, i t is a general principle of contract law that when a c o n t r a c t i s s i g n e d by a p a r t y o r p a r t i e s 'to be c h a r g e d , ' a c o n t r a c t c a n be e n f o r c e d w h e r e t h e o t h e r p a r t y f a i l s t o s i g n t h e c o n t r a c t . See A n s e l m o M e a t Co. v . R i l e y , 533 So. 2 d 552 ( A l a . 1988). "The record indicates that Merrill Lynch provided [ t h e c l i e n t ] w i t h t h e CMA agreement and t h a t [the c l i e n t ] e x e c u t e d i t . In a d d i t i o n , M e r r i l l Lynch acted i n r e c o g n i t i o n of the formal agreement. T h e r e f o r e , we c o n c l u d e t h a t M e r r i l l L y n c h m a n i f e s t e d assent to the terms of the agreement, i n c l u d i n g the arbitration agreement contained therein, notwithstanding t h e a b s e n c e of a s i g n a t u r e by i t s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e . A c c o r d i n g l y , we conclude that the a r b i t r a t i o n p r o v i s i o n c o n t a i n e d i n t h e CMA agreement is enforceable." Merrill Aflac for Lynch, 751 r e c e i v e d and the 2009 So. 2d at accepted policy; 11. The Parker's such consented to the terms of the the record indicates that monthly premium payments action is evidence Aflac agreement. arbitration Further, president Aflac, of both the record Aflac, signed and the 2009 p o l i c y , that indicates Joey 2009 that which incorporated Paul S. M. Loudermilk, policy, which 18 Amos secretary incorporated II, of the 1100227, 1100282 arbitration is not agreement. inconsequential signed policy, signed by which T h e r e f o r e , f o r t h i s r e a s o n as w e l l , i t that any the arbitration Aflac agreement representative incorporated itself was the 2009 agreement, was because the arbitration b y Amos a n d L o u d e r m i l k . B a s e d o n t h e f o r e g o i n g , we c o n c l u d e t h a t A f l a c satisfied their burden agreement existed burden then s h i f t e d of between evidence arbitration Next, agreement disputes Aflac's and refuting "clearly between brief, Hunter r e l y the parties. and Hunter; Aflac's agreement Aflac that an As a arbitration result, the to Parker to present evidence refuting the e v i d e n c e p r o v i d e d by A f l a c any proving and Hunter and Parker d i dnot present and Hunter's evidence that the existed. Hunter argue expresses them a t p. 24. will that the the parties' be resolved In support upon t h e f o l l o w i n g intent by of t h e i r portion arbitration that arbitration." argument, Aflac of the arbitration agreement: " B o t h I and AFLAC a g r e e and u n d e r s t a n d t h a t a l l disputes arising u n d e r l a w , w h e t h e r made b y t h e c o u r t s o r t h e l e g i s l a t u r e o r any o t h e r law which includes but i s not l i m i t e d to a l l contract, tort and t h i r d p a r t y d i s p u t e s , w i l l be d e c i d e d b y t h e u s e of b i n d i n g a r b i t r a t i o n . " 19 a l l 1100227, Parker 1100282 does not arbitration claims offer agreement against Aflac any argument was and not in broad Hunter. his brief that the to include his Tree, this enough In Green Court held: "Whether an arbitration provision encompasses a party's claims 'is a matter of contract i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , which i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s guided by t h e i n t e n t o f t h e p a r t i e s , and w h i c h i n t e n t , a b s e n t a m b i g u i t y i n t h e c l a u s e , i s e v i d e n c e d by t h e p l a i n language of the c l a u s e . ' A l l i e d - B r u c e T e r m i n i x Cos. v . D o b s o n , 684 So. 2d 1 0 2 , 110 (Ala. 1995)." 753 So. 2d at 505. We agree with Aflac's and Hunter's arguments t h a t the above language of the a r b i t r a t i o n agreement is and not ambiguous arbitration of that Parker's i t claims is broad against enough to include them. Conclusion Aflac an Hunter satisfied a r b i t r a t i o n agreement claims the and against contract interstate offer them. evidence Hunter; Parker presents no the the refuting o f f e r e d no persuasive existed Because there containing commerce, their that was of applied no proving to i s s u e as a r b i t r a t i o n agreement burden the burden that Parker's to whether affected then shifted to Parker to evidence offered by Aflac and evidence to r e f u t e that evidence argument 20 that Aflac and Hunter and failed 1100227, 1100282 to their meet court's compel court burden. judgment denying arbitration, and d i r e c t Therefore, Aflac's a n d we remand i tto grant those we reverse and Hunter's the case the circuit motions to the to circuit motions. 1100227 -- REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS. 1100282 -- REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS. Malone, C . J . , and S t u a r t , Shaw, 21 and Wise, J J . , concur.