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Arbitration – Motion to Compel – Hearing – Contract

Goodwin v. Century Care of Cherryville, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-16-0945, 11 pp.) (Robert N. Hunter Jr., J.) Appealed from Gaston County Superior Court. (Robert C. Ervin, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Click here for the full-text opinion.

Holding: There were several ways for defense counsel to present the purported arbitration agreement to the trial judge at the hearing on defendant’s motion to compel arbitration. Although defense counsel merely handed an unauthenticated copy of the agreement to the judge during the hearing, the agreement had been provided to plaintiff in a verified discovery response, and the judge and both counsel discussed the details of the agreement.

To deny the motion to compel arbitration based solely on the failure to produce the document in affidavit form is to elevate form over substance.

We vacate the denial of defendant’s motion to compel arbitration. We remand for a determination of whether the document at issue was a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement.

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