§55-10-1. Submission of controversy; defenses; setoff.
Persons desiring to end any controversy, whether there be a suit pending therefor or not, may submit the same to arbitration, and agree that such submission may be entered of record in any court. Upon proof of such agreement out of court, or by consent of the parties given in court, in person or by counsel, it shall be entered in the proceedings of such court; and thereupon a rule shall be made that the parties shall submit to the award which shall be made in pursuance of such agreement. When a pending cause is submitted to arbitration, the defendant may make any defense to the plaintiff's claim or demand that he could make under any proper plea filed in court, whether such plea has been filed or not, by giving to the plaintiff reasonable notice in writing of the nature and character of his defense; and in a suit for any debt, he may at the trial before the arbitrators prove and have allowed against such debt any payment or setoff, whether before that time pleaded or not, or whether an account of setoff has before that time been filed or not, which he may plead or file before the arbitrators in such manner as to give the plaintiff notice of its nature, but not otherwise. Although the claim of the plaintiff be jointly against several persons and the setoff be of a debt, not to all, but only to a part of them, this section shall extend to such setoff, if it appear that the persons against whom such claim is stand in the relation of principal and surety, and the person entitled to the setoff be the principal. When the defendant is allowed to file and prove an account of setoff to the plaintiff's demand, the plaintiff shall be allowed to file and prove an account of counter setoff, and make such other defense as he might have made had an original action been brought upon such setoff; and upon the trial the arbitrators shall ascertain the true state of indebtedness between the parties, and the award shall be rendered accordingly.