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Cuccinelli opinion appears to help Capital One

Del. Bill Janis, R-Henrico, appears to be looking out for a constituent and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is helping him out.

Janis asked Cuccinelli for an official opinion on whether credit card agreements governed by Virginia law are written contracts under Virginia Code § 8.01-246, when the contract consists of a series of documents, at least one of which is signed by the cardholder.

Cuccinelli notes in the opinion that Janis tells him that courts in at least one state have concluded that such credit card agreements are unwritten contracts and thus subject to a three-year statute of limitations rather than the five-year limit on written contracts.

No credit card company is identified, but Capital One has a major operation in Janis’ district. Its credit card agreement leaves little doubt that it is the company he has in mind: “We make decisions to grant credit and issue you a Card from our offices in Virginia. This Agreement will be interpreted using Virginia law.”

After four densely worded single-spaced pages – more densely worded in fact than the choice of law provision of the Capital One’s credit card contract – Cuccinelli arrives at the conclusion Janis was looking for: the credit card agreement in question is a written contract.

By Alan Cooper

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