Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grounds to avoid arbitration


   
Affirmative Defenses to Arbitration: duress, fraudulent inducement, revocation
 
These defenses can be invoked, if applicable, after the movant for arbitration has discharged its burden to show that an arbitration agreement exists. The most basic defense of a party seeking to avoid arbitration, by contrast, involves contract-formation, i.e. the contention that an agreement to arbitrate was never reached in the first place and that there is accordingly no valid and enforceable arbitration agreement.  
   
AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES TO ARBITRATION
  
If the party seeking arbitration carries its initial burden, then the burden shifts to the party opposing arbitration to present evidence on an affirmative defense to the arbitration agreement. J.M. Davidson, Inc. v. Webster, 128 S.W.3d 223, 227 (Tex. 2003). In the context of enforcement of an arbitration agreement, defenses refer to unconscionability, duress, fraudulent inducement, and revocation. In re FirstMerit Bank, N.A., 52 S.W.3d 749, 756 (Tex. 2001). Because the law favors arbitration, the burden of proving a defense to arbitration is on the party opposing it. See J.M. Davidson, Inc., 128 S.W.3d at 227.
  
SOURCE:  EL PASO COURT OF APPEALS -  No. 08-11-00091-CV – 4/25/2012
  
[Employee-Plaintiff] has not offered evidence as to any of the applicable affirmative defenses. Her only claims related to issues of arbitrability which we have already determined must be presented to the arbitrator. We conclude that the trial court erred in refusing to compel arbitration. We sustain both issues for review and reverse and remand for orders compelling arbitration.