Citizens Bank v. Alafabco, Inc., 539 U.S. 52, 3 (2003) (per curiam)

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Per Curiam

restructured and redocumented. 872 So. 2d 798 (Ala. 2002). The debt-restructuring arrangement included an arbitration agreement covering " 'all disputes, claims, or controversies.' " That agreement provided that the FAA " 'shall apply to [its] construction, interpretation, and enforcement.' " Id., at 799. Alafabco defaulted on its obligations under the renewal notes and sought bankruptcy protection in federal court in September 1999.

In return for the dismissal of Alafabco's bankruptcy petition, the bank agreed to renegotiate the outstanding loans in a second debt-restructuring agreement. On December 10, 1999, the parties executed new loan documents encompassing Alafabco's entire outstanding debt, approximately $430,000, which was secured by a mortgage on commercial real estate owned by the individual respondents, by Alafabco's accounts receivable, inventory, supplies, fixtures, machinery, and equipment, and by a mortgage on the house of one of the individual respondents. Id., at 800. As part of the second debt-restructuring agreement, the parties executed an arbitration agreement functionally identical to that of May 3, 1999.

Within a year of the December 1999 debt restructuring, Alafabco brought suit in the Circuit Court of Lawrence County, Alabama, against the bank and its officers. Alafabco alleged, among other causes of action, breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and interference with a contractual or business relationship. Essentially, the suit alleged that Alafabco detrimentally " 'incur[red] massive debt' " because the bank had unlawfully reneged on its agreement to provide capital sufficient to complete the Courtland project. Id., at 799. Invoking the arbitration agreements, the bank moved to compel arbitration of the parties' dispute. The Circuit Court ordered respondents to submit to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration agreements.

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