In response to defendant HJH Companies’ assertion that plaintiff owes HJH more than $200,000 and that any dispute is subject to arbitration, plaintiff filed this suit seeking declaratory judgment as to the validity of a contract that plaintiff’s former employee lacked the authority to enter. Plaintiff submitted two affidavits to support the assertion it never entered into a valid arbitration agreement with HJH. Defendant did not offer any evidence to support an agreement to arbitrate existed aside from the disputed agreement and an untimely filed – and therefore stricken – affidavit. In the absence of the untimely affidavit, the trial court did not err as a matter of law by declining to conclude an agreement to arbitrate existed. The trial court’s ruling denying the motion to compel arbitration in the absence of the existence of an arbitration agreement is affirmed.
If a valid agreement to arbitrate does not exist, defendant has failed to show a substantial right is affected. This court lacks jurisdiction to review the trial court’s interlocutory order denying HJH’s motion to compel arbitration.
(Dillon, J.) We have jurisdiction to consider whether defendants, in fact, have a substantial right which would be forever lost by the trial court’s order. Consequently, our disposition should be to affirm the trial court’s order rather than to dismiss defendants’ appeal.
JRM, Inc. v. HJH Companies (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-014-23, 13 pp.) (John Tyson, J.) Appealed from Davidson County Superior Court (Susan Bray, J.) Gray Wilson and Lorin Lapidus for plaintiff; Michael Hoefling and Kathleen Burchette for defendant. N.C. App.