I am an LLC. An exbusiness partner filed a civil lawsuit against my company and me personally. We had a signed operating agreement, agreeing to arbitration. I filed a motion to dismiss based upon the agreement to arbitration. They filed a motion to strike saying that I cannot represent my company because I am not a lawyer. Is that true? Technically, this civil suit should NOT be in the courts because of binding arbitration.
I am looking for a local lawyer to confer with about this, on an hourly basis.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Civil Lawsuit
Normally the arbitration clause in a contract is binding. That being said, there are several ways to claim that the provision is unenforceable including but not limited to: agreement signed under duress; provision contradicted by other terms of the agreement; etc. Without reviewing the agreement in question and the grounds set forth for the refusal to arbitrate it is difficult for me to adequately answer your question.
As to your ability to represent yourself, there are no laws I am aware of that would not permit this unless there are allegations that you have defrauded the company and/or your ownership is such that you do not have the authority to do so. However, even if you do have the authority to represent the company it is not generally a good idea to represent yourself ...the old saying "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client" is pretty well founded. That being said, the fact that you are seeking out legal help now is to be commended. I will provide one more warning which is that without knowing the status of the litigation, I would suggest seeking out my help or that of one of my esteemed colleagues as soon as possible to avoid doing significant harm to your case. Good luck and if you need any further help please do not hesitate to contact me.
Re: Civil Lawsuit
In most cases you find certain clauses if the parties agreed to arbiration or e.g. American Arbitration Assoc. is defind.If the arbitration is conffimred as you descrive than the case should not be in court. You can represent yourself, but that is not to recommend. Even I use in my personal cases a lawyers friend.
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