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Help! Court ordered JAMS Arb initiated but DB voluntarily dismisses lawsuit w/o prejudice & seeks to have me withdraw arb- what to do?


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I'm hoping some good Samaritan will read this and respond. I am in urgent need of help! 

Backstory: I defaulted on credit cards the last couple years due to spouse getting laid off for and unable to find steady employment the past couple years. My store cards were sold by the OC to PRA who sued earlier this year in small claims court (both for amounts <5k). 

In the 1st case, I went to the pretrial hearing and opted to go to trial, at which point I hired an attorney to represent me in the matter. As soon as the notice of appearance was filed by my atty, PRA offered to settle (mutual walk away & dismissal w/prejudice) which I hurriedly accepted. 

Consequently, PRA filed suit on the other credit card account and I was able to get the judge to stay the case and approve my MTC Arb through JAMS as stated in my credit agreement - which I supplied since PRA was suing on Account Stated and only supplied their records custodian's dubious looking affidavit, generic bill of sale from OC & last credit card statement reflecting charge-off.

I mailed an arb election letter to PRA CMRR and included a copy of that letter with my JAMS demand. I think I may have messed up there as I did not send copies to the plaintiff's attorney - didn't realize they should've received the same package I sent to JAMS??

JAMS rep emailed me and DB attorney ackowledging receipt of demand for Arb yesterday afternoon. PRA attorney e-filed Voluntary dismissal w/o prejudice late yesterday evening and responded to JAMS rep this AM stating they didn't receive Arb demand.

JAMS rep responded asking if I sent the attorney copies of all docs sent to them (which is why I am wondering if copies should have been sent to the other side? I thought only the Arb election letter was sent to plaintiff - per the JAMS demand instructions).

I'm at work so couldn't respond right away and the PRA attorney had already fired off another email stating that case has been dismissed and the plaintiff is no longer pursuing collection on this account, so there is no longer a dispute.

The JAMS rep is now asking me to confirm that I want to withdraw. What to do? Should I ask respond that I agree with stipulations? Should I ask that they file a dismissal with prejudice - or is it too late for them to change their dismissal? Btw I never filed an answer as small claims court in FL does not require it and did not document any consumer violations unless robocalls with no messages count. My phone carrier has conveniently erased all voicemails when my phone software updated. 

Also checked Clerk of court website and vol. dismissal does not show - case still has a status of open with next status check hearing still set for the 21st.

I may have misunderstood the filing instructions - should have posted sooner asking for help but this is all so intimidating to a newbie. 

Any help/advice you can give?

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You can ask them to change their dismissal to with prejudice, but I wouldn't make it a sticking point. They know if they ever sue you again that you will light them up with another MTC.

Youshould get whatever JAMS fees back, but if they give you static, ask PRA to meet you half way on whatever JAMS doesn't refund you. 

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On 11/9/2016 at 2:37 PM, Cluelessnewbie said:

JAMS rep responded asking if I sent the attorney copies of all docs sent to them (which is why I am wondering if copies should have been sent to the other side? I thought only the Arb election letter was sent to plaintiff - per the JAMS demand instructions).

The JAMS rules and filing instructions clearly state that you must send a copy of everything to the other side.

If this were me, I would send everything to the attorney today, and I would email both the attorney and CC JAMS to let them know you sent the Respondent's demand packet to the wrong address and have dropped a copy in the mail to the correct address for the attorney.  I would also ask that JAMS not close the case at this time to allow myself to have a little time to confirm any settlement deal or withdrawal of the court case with the Respondent.

I would then email the attorney separately (NOT copying JAMS) and state that if they wish to settle, I will accept a dismissal WITH prejudice and payment of any costs to date (if I paid anything to JAMS) in exchange for a withdrawal of the JAMS demand.

If you do not hear anything official from the court before your next hearing date, I would SHOW UP to court on that date.  I would bring all of my JAMS filing proof that you are complying with the court's order to arbitrate.

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