How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

George Simons

January 13, 2021

Summary: File a Motion to Compel Arbitration to stop your debt collector in his tracks.

If you are sued by a debt collector, you may be able to avoid going to court, or at least delay going to be court, by filing a motion to compel the debt collector to participate in arbitration. Depending on the circumstances in your case, you could very well file this motion without the assistance of an attorney.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a process in which the parties involved in a legal dispute agree to empower one or more individuals to render a decision about the legal dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments. You may be asking yourself, “how is arbitration different from mediation?” Well, arbitration is different from traditional mediation since the arbitrator is empowered to render a decision that would resolve the legal dispute. In mediation, the mediator is focused more on finding ways for the parties to reach an amicable resolution between one another.

Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. When arbitration is binding, the decision rendered by the arbitrator is final and can actually be enforced by a court with the ability to appeal in only limited circumstances. In contrast, when arbitration is non-binding, the arbitrator's decision is considered to be a recommendation and is only enforceable if the parties accept the recommendation.

Many contracts and agreements contain arbitration clauses. As a result, there are a number of state and federal laws on the books that allow an individual to compel arbitration. Though, there are a number of prerequisites that need to be met in order to effectively get a court to compel arbitration. For example, you need to make sure you have a valid arbitration agreement.

Typical Arbitration Provision in Contractual Agreements

A typical arbitration provision in a contractual agreement says something akin to, “All disputes or claims relating to or arising under this Contract will be settled with binding arbitration in [State XYZ|. Any court with competent jurisdiction may confirm the award.”

If you want to compel a party to participate in arbitration, make sure that the legal dispute falls within the parameters of the arbitration provision in the contract. For example, there are some arbitration agreements that contain exceptions or exclusions for what is covered. A contract might require arbitration for compensatory disputes but not for disputes related to the quality of work completed in a project.

Where Will the Arbitration Take Place?

If your dispute is eligible for arbitration, another key issue is determining where you agreed to arbitrate the dispute. When you file your motion to compel arbitration, it should be in the district where your arbitration is supposed to occur. You can figure this out by reviewing your arbitration provision. There is typically language that specifically states where an arbitration can take place.

State Court or Federal Court?

Another issue to address is whether to pursue arbitration in state court or federal court. The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) is a federal statute, but it does not guarantee or mandate that someone seek arbitration in federal court. Nevertheless, it may make sense to try and pursue arbitration through a federal court since many federal courts appear to favor granting arbitration. Even if you are unable to file in federal court, you can still file in state court because the FAA applies at the state level.

To learn more about what documents are needed to compel arbitration, consider utilizing the resources and information available through SoloSuit.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

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