Verizon Wireless v. Bateman
44 Fla. L. Weekly D413c
Second DCA; February 8, 2019
The plaintiff entered into a cell-phone service contract with the defendant. The contract required arbitration of any dispute that “in any way relates to” the contract. Subsequently, the plaintiff terminated his service, and obtained a bankruptcy discharge of his unpaid cell-phone bills. But the defendant sent the plaintiff a collection notice anyway. The plaintiff then sued the defendant for violating Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act, and the defendant moved to compel arbitration. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s claim was related to the contract because it arose out of the defendant’s efforts to enforce the contract. Did the trial court err in denying the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration?
- The Third DCA said “no.”
- There must be a significant relationship between the contract and the plaintiff’s claim, in order to compel arbitration. In order to show a significant relationship, the movant must show that it will be necessary to refer to, or construe, the contract in order to resolve the plaintiff’s claim. In this case, the defendant did not show that it would be necessary to refer to, or construe, the contract in order to resolve the plaintiff’s claim. Therefore, arbitration was not required.