General contractor APAC-Atlantic (APAC) hired Smith Jamison Construction (Jamison) as a subcontractor to perform concrete work on a highway project. The APAC-Jamison subcontract included an agreement that the parties would arbitrate all claims arising out of or relating to their subcontract. Jamison alleged that APAC later sought to have Jamison further subcontract the concrete work to Yates Construction Company (Yates). According to Jamison, APAC terminated the subcontract when Jamison refused to subcontract with Yates.

Jamison sued APAC and Yates in state court, alleging that APAC had breached its subcontract with Jamison and that Yates had committed fraudulent misrepresentation, tortious interference, civil conspiracy, and violations of the North Carolina unfair and deceptive trade practices statute. Both APAC and Yates sought to compel arbitration of the claims Jamison asserted against them.