Can You Enforce an Arbitration Clause on the Other Side Just Before Trial?

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Can You Enforce an Arbitration Clause on the Other Side Just Before Trial?

by Gary S. Young on May 10, 2013

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently considered how late is “too late” to invoke an arbitration clause in a contract. The court accepted the case after lower courts reached opposing opinions of the issue.

In the recently decided Cole v. Jersey City Medical Center, the defendant waited until three days before trial to invoke its right to proceed to arbitration. The arbitration clause at issue was included in an employment agreement with the plaintiff, Karen Cole. The agreement provided, in pertinent part, that, "any claim, controversy or dispute between you and [the employer] . . . arising out of or relating to your employment, the cessation of your employment, or any matter relating to the foregoing . . . shall be submitted to and settled by arbitration . . . .”

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