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Legal Memorandum: Motion to Compel Arbitration in VI

Issue: What standard is applied to evaluate a motion to compel arbitration?

Area of Law: Alternative Dispute Resolution
Keywords: Motion to compel arbitration; Evidence and inferences
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 24 V.I.C. § 74a (2004)
Date: 11/01/2007

A motion to compel arbitration is reviewed under the summary judgment standard, requiring the court to consider all evidence and inferences in favor of the party opposing arbitration.  Ostroff v. Alterra Healthcare Corp., 433 F. Supp. 2d 538, 541 (E.D. Pa. 2006).

Title 24, § 74a of the V.I. Code provides:

§ 74a   Arbitration

(a)        Notwithstanding an employment contract that provides for the use of arbitration to resolve a controversy arising out of or relating to the employment relationship, arbitration may be used to settle such a dispute only if:

(1)        the employer or employee submits a written request after the dispute arises to the other party to use arbitration; and

 

(2)        the other party consents in writing not later than sixty (60) days after the receipt of the request to use arbitration.

(b)        An employer subject to this chapter may not require an employee to arbitrate a dispute as a condition of employment.

24 V.I.C. § 74a (2004).  The plain reading of subpart (a) requires a party wishing to initiate arbitration to submit a written request to the other party after the dispute arises.  If the other party refuses to consent, the claims are not subject to arbitration.

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