Mississippi Bankruptcy Court – Core Claims To Remain With Court, Non-Core Claims Must Be Arbitrated
October 19, 2021, Northern District of Mississippi – The case refers to a joint motion to stay and compel arbitration or to dismiss for failure to state a claim filed by the Defendants, Stonepoint Legal (“Stonepoint”), Donald Norris, Leigh Anne Cade, and Strategic Financial Solutions, LLC and the response filed by the Plaintiff Trustee Locke D. Barkley for the bankruptcy estate of Debtor Becky McCollum.
Before filing the bankruptcy case, the Debtor engaged Stonepoint for debt relief services under an agreement that included an arbitration provision. Some of the defendants were not signatories to the agreement. The issue before the Court was – whether the arbitration agreement covers the non-signatory defendants and whether Defendants can compel arbitration of all claims.
The Court found that since the agreement’s language is comprehensive and covers a variety of claims and disputes “arising out of or relating to this agreement or its performance,” including the claims at issue, all twelve claims fall within the scope of the arbitration provision. Next, the Court did not waive the arbitration of all claims and ruled that the core claims may remain with the Court, but non-core claims must be arbitrated. Further, the Court found that the Trustee sufficiently stated her claims in the complaint.
Finally, the Court denied the Defendants’ motion to stay and compel Counts I through V and granted Counts VI through XII pending a ruling from the arbitrator.
McCollum v. Donald Norris & Assocs., PLLC (In re McCollum), 2021 Bankr. LEXIS 2883