Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Need a little legal ammo? Search for caselaw on legal theories and defenses here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Proving arbitrability (arbitration agreement)


WHO HAS THE BURDEN TO PROVE EXISTENCE OF VALID ARB AGREEMENT?

The burden of establishing an arbitration agreement's existence is evidentiary and runs with the party seeking to compel arbitration. Mohamed v. Auto Nation USA Corp., 89 S.W.3d 830, 836 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, orig. proceeding). A strong presumption in favor of arbitration attaches "only after the party seeking to compel arbitration proves that a valid arbitration agreement exists." J.M. Davidson, Inc., v. Webster, 128 S.W.3d 223, 227 (Tex. 2003). "No party is under a duty to arbitrate unless by clear language he has previously agreed to do so; and it must clearly appear that the intention of the parties was to submit their dispute to an arbitration panel and to be bound by the panel's decision." Webb v. Investacorp, 89 F.3d 252, 259 (5th Cir. 1996), quoting Massey v. Galvan, 822 S.W.2d 309, 316 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, writ denied).

"[A]n employer attempting to enforce an arbitration agreement must show the agreement meets all requisite contract elements." Webster, 128 S.W.3d at 228. "[O]rdinary principles of state contract law determine whether there is a valid agreement to arbitrate." Inland Sea, Inc. v. Castro, 420 S.W.3d 55, 58 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2012, pet. denied).

The elements of a valid contract, including contracts to arbitrate, are (1) an offer, (2) an acceptance, (3) a meeting of the minds, (4) each party's consent to the terms, and (5) execution and delivery of the contract with the intent that it be mutual and binding. Paragon Indus. Applications, Inc. v. Stan Excavating, L.L.C., 432 S.W.3d 542, 547 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 2014, no pet.). "[T]he trial court may summarily decide whether to compel arbitration on the basis of affidavits, pleadings, discovery, and stipulations." Jack B. Anglin Co., Inc. v. Tipps, 842 S.W.2d 266, 269 (Tex. 1992). "However, if the material facts necessary to determine the issue are controverted, by an opposing affidavit or otherwise admissible evidence, the trial court must conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine the disputed material facts." Id.We review the question of whether a valid arbitration exists de novo. In re ReadyOne Industries, Inc., 294 S.W.3d 764, 768 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2009, orig. proceeding) (existence of valid arbitration agreement is a question of law).

STANDARD OF REVIEW ON APPEAL

We review the question of whether a valid arbitration exists de novo. In re ReadyOne Industries, Inc., 294 S.W.3d 764, 768 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2009, orig. proceeding) (existence of valid arbitration agreement is a question of law).

SOURCE: EL PASO COURT OF APPEALS - No. 08-13-00167-CV - 9/17/2014