Woodmen of the World v. Harris

In Woodmen of the World v. Harris, 740 So. 2d 362 (Ala. 1999) Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society ("Woodmen"), the insurer, sought to compel the arbitration of an action against it by its insured, Larry Harris. "After Harris became a member of Woodmen, but before he filed his action, Woodmen amended its constitution" to require the arbitration of disputes such as Harris's. 740 So. 2d at 363. Harris contended "that he did not learn about the arbitration provision until after he had filed his action." Id. at 365 n.6. In holding that the dispute was arbitrable, the Court said: "When Harris purchased insurance from Woodmen, he agreed to be bound by all of the documents expressly incorporated into the certificate, specifically the Woodmen constitution and any amendments to that constitution. The certificate states that 'the Articles of Incorporation and the Constitution and laws and any amendments to them are binding on the member.' The arbitration provision was duly adopted by an amendment of the kind that Harris agreed to be bound by when he joined Woodmen. Although Harris may not have expressly assented to the particular arbitration provision at issue here, it appears to be undisputed that he did assent to the plain terms of the certificate, which, at the time he entered into the contract with Woodmen, included a provision allowing for future amendments to the constitution." 740 So. 2d at 367.