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Sample Motion to Compel Arbitration

George Simons | October 19, 2022

Summary: Are you trying to file a Motion to Compel Arbitration? Find out how to do it the right way with this free sample Motion to Compel Arbitration.

A motion requests the court for a specific ruling, direction, or order. One such motion is the Motion to Compel Arbitration. You can compel arbitration as long as you have a valid and enforceable written agreement to force the other party to submit the dispute to arbitration.

For instance, if a debt collector sues you, you can file a Motion to Compel Arbitration to avoid going to court or delay the court process.

Arbitration can either be binding or non-binding. Binding arbitration means that the decision made by the arbitrator is final and can be enforced in court. On the other hand, when arbitration is non-binding, it means that the decision made by the arbitrator is just a recommendation and can only be enforceable if both parties accept the recommendation.

If a complaint contains arbitrable and non-arbitrable claims, the court can't deny a Motion to Compel Arbitration even if the litigation involves non-arbitrable issues. The court can only deny a petition for arbitration if the non-arbitrable issues are outside the scope of the parties.

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How to file a Motion to Compel Arbitration

Before filing a Motion to Compel Arbitration, ensure that you meet the set prerequisites for arbitration. Below are some tips to successfully file a petition to compel arbitration.

Ensure you have a valid arbitration agreement. Without a valid arbitration agreement, you can't bring a Motion to Compel Arbitration in court. For this reason, you'll need to go through the contract you had with the other party and check to see whether you had an agreement. If an agreement exists, confirm if it was signed by both parties.

Make sure the dispute falls under the arbitration provision. Some agreements may create exceptions for arbitrable issues and non-arbitrable issues. For instance, you may have an agreement with your employer that categorizes pay disputes as an arbitrable issue but other types of work disputes as non-arbitrable. Before filing a Motion to Compel Arbitration, ensure the dispute subject matter falls within the arbitration agreement.

Determine where the arbitration will take place. After confirming that the dispute is eligible for arbitration, you'll need to determine the place where you agreed to arbitrate. Next, you should petition the Motion to Compel Arbitration in the district where your arbitration is supposed to be held. The district is usually indicated in your arbitration provision.

Seek help from an attorney. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action to take regarding your motion. It's therefore essential to choose one who's experienced in arbitration-related issues.

Decide with which court you will file your petition. It's best to file this type of motion in a federal court because they favor arbitration more than state courts. However, there's no guarantee that a federal court will accept your case.

Here are a few circumstances in your case that may allow you to file in a federal court:

  • If you and the other party are from different states.
  • If the dispute is worth at least $75000.

However, if it's impossible to file in a federal court, you can still go ahead and file in a state court.

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Draft a Motion to Compel Arbitration. Section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) allows you to file a Motion to Compel Arbitration even if the plaintiff hasn't filed a lawsuit against you. For this reason, you can go ahead and draft your motion. Ensure the information contained in the draft includes:

  • A title, e.g., Motion to Compel Arbitration.
  • The arbitration clause in the agreement.
  • Identities of both parties involved in the lawsuit.
  • The states you both come from.
  • Explain how the court has jurisdiction over the case.
  • Request the court to issue an order that both parties must resort to arbitration.
  • Sign the motion. If you have an attorney, both of you need to sign the motion before filing it with the court.

Check out an example of our Motion to Compel Arbitration here.

File the Motion to Compel Arbitration. After drafting the Motion to Compel Arbitration, you'll need to file it with the court clerk. You can do this in person or let an attorney do it for you if you have one. Filing requirements vary from one court to another; you need to consult with the court clerk about local rules for filing that apply to your case.

You'll also need to inquire from the court clerk about the filing fee and acceptable payment methods.

Schedule a hearing. When filing your petition, you need to schedule your hearing as well. The petition will serve as a notice that the hearing can be held five days from the date you filed the petition.

Serve the other party with a notice of the motion. After filing petition documents with the court, you'll need to provide copies of the same documents to the other party or their lawyer. Send them a copy of the complaint, the notice of hearing, and a summons from the court.

You can only serve the other party with a notice after you've filed a motion with the court. This is because the court has to give a summons document to present to the other party. In some cases, the court may give you a blank summons, and you'll be required to fill it out before serving it to the other party.

If you've filed your case in a federal court, you can serve the notice to the other party by:

  • Hiring a private process server to do it for you.
  • Using someone the age of 18 or above and is not involved in the lawsuit.

Attend the court hearing. It's upon the judge to decide the validity of the arbitration agreement. If the arbitration agreement is valid, then the judge can order compelling arbitration. However, if the agreement isn't valid, the judge may order a trial.

Filing for a Motion to Compel Arbitration depends on the circumstances in your case. However, you still need to meet certain prerequisites, such as having a valid arbitration agreement before filing such a motion in court.

What happens after I file a Motion to Compel Arbitration?

Here's a list of possible outcomes of filing a Motion to Compel Arbitration:

  • The court denies the motion, and the case proceeds with a regular hearing or trial in court.
  • The court accepts the motion, and the case goes to arbitration. In this event, both you and the opposing party pay an arbitrator to help you come to an agreement.
  • The opposing party dismisses the case, and you get to work out a settlement outside of court.
Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

Filing a Motion to Compel Arbitration can be a great option for someone who is sued for debt. In many cases, the debt collector is required to cover arbitration costs, and such costs can end up being more than the amount they are trying to recover. As a result, many debt collectors would rather dismiss the case than continue with the arbitration process. This is the ideal outcome for a defendant who has filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration.

On the other hand, if the arbitration clause states that both parties must split the cost of arbitration fees, a case dismissal may not be as likely.

JAMS Solutions and American Arbitration Association (AAA) are two of the leading arbitration organizations in the US. If your Motion to Compel Arbitration has been accepted by the court, it is very likely that your arbitration case will involve one of these two organizations.

According to JAMS, the arbitration process is as follows: Both parties choose an impartial person (arbitrator) who arbitrates the case by reading briefs and documentary evidence, listening to parties' testimonies, examing evidence, and offering an "award of the arbitrator" (which includes any relief, damages, outcome, or attorny/courts costs and fees deemed necessary by the arbitrator). The arbitrator must render the award within 30 days of the arbitration hearing. Finally, the award can be entered as a judgment in law after proper confirmation with the court.

Arbitration costs: Who pays?

Many credit agreements list the creditor as the party responsible for arbitration fees, should a debt lawsuit case move to arbitration. This means that many creditors are contractually bound to pay arbitration fees and cannot seek to recover them if they win, which leaves you off the hook!

However, if your credit agreement does not explicitly state that the creditor would be responsible for fees in an arbitration case, then the cost for arbitration would be split between you and the creditor by default. In arbitration between an employee and employer, the employer must cover the costs but can recover them if they win.

Additionally, some credit agreements give the creditor the right to recover arbitration fees if they win, so be sure to carefully read your credit agreement when considering arbitration.

See the table below for JAMS' filing fees and AAA's filing fees:

Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

Debt collection lawsuit flowchart

This flowchart outlines all the possible routes you can take if you've been sued for debt:

Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

Motion to Compel Arbitration sample

Check out SoloSuit's sample of a Motion to Compel Arbitration.

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