The district court may not deny a motion to compel arbitration unless there is a genuine issue of fact of whether the parties agreed to arbitrate.
Customer agreed to a debt reduction program with a debt negotiation service. Customer received an initial package of documents via email, but a dispute arose whether or not the account agreement, which contained the arbitration clause, was in the package of documents or received after the customer signed the other documents.
The district court denied the motion to compel arbitration because it determined that there was sufficient evidence to establish that the customer received the account agreement with the arbitration clause after her initial receipt of the package of documents, so the customer did not agree to arbitration. The Third Circuit vacated the denial and remanded the case to the district court because there was no genuine issue of fact whether the parties intended to arbitrate.
Citations and References:
a. Par-Knit Mills, Inc. v. Stockbridge Fabrics Co., Ltd., 636 F.3d 51 (3d Cir. 1980) (in the event that the making of the arbitration agreement, which is a matter of contract between the parties, is an issue, then the court shall proceed summarily to the trial of that issue).