All posts published on 'December, 2015' — Arbitration & Mediation Updates
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From the monthly archives: December, 2015

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'December, 2015'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Texas: Trial court erred in granting summary judgment to void a mediated settlement agreement

The Thirteenth Court of Appeals, in Flores v. Medline Industries, Inc., held that the trial court erred when it granted a motion for summary judgment to void a mediated settlement agreement. The parties--Flores and Medline Industries, Inc.--attended a mediation after a motion for summary judgment was filed. The trial court had ruled on the MSJ, but the parties were not aware of the ruling at the time of the mediation. The parties resolved the case at mediation, resulting in a mediated settlement agreement. Afterwards, Medline filed a MSJ seeking to void the mediated settlement agreement on the grounds of mutual or unilateral mistake which was granted. In reversing the trial court's summary judgment, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals analyzed whether conclusive evidence was presented on the issue of mistake. Medline's position was that it would not have attended the mediation, or would have settled for a smaller amount, if it knew of the summary judgment. The court of appeals held that Medline "failed to concl ...

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US Supreme Court: Class Arbitration Waivers Valid

On December 14, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in DirectTV, Inc. v. Imburgia. The US Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act requires the enforcement of an arbitration agreement despite language that the agreement was unenforceable if the "law of your state" made class arbitration waivers unenforceable. DirectTV and its customers entered into service agreements that contained an arbitration provision that also waived class arbitrations. The contract stated that it would be unenforceable if the "law of your state" made class arbitration waivers unenforceable. Any arbitration was governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. At the time that Imburgia entered into the contract with DirectTV, California law made class arbitration waivers unenforceable because they were unconscionable. The trial court denied DirectTV's request to arbitrate and that decision was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal. While California law did invalidate class action arbitration waivers, the ...

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Texas: Arbitration agreement requiring employee to pay own attorney's fees was not substantively unconscionable

In Ophthalmic Consultants of Texas, P.A. v. Morales, the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District of Texas reversed the trial court's ruling denying a motion to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeals held that a valid arbitration agreement existed and that the claims fell within the scope of the agreement. Morales, a doctor. was hired by OCT and signed an agreement to arbitrate employment claims. The arbitration agreement provided that OCT would bear all costs and expenses of arbitration, unless Morales instituted arbitration. In that circumstance, Morales would be responsible for paying no more than $100.00 for any AAA administrative fee. Morales filed a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission alleging that OCT engaged in discriminatory practices and later filed a lawsuit. OCT asserted that the suit should be stayed pending arbitration. The Court of Appeals considered whether the agreement to arbitrate was illusory, failed for indefiniteness, or was substantively unconscionable. The Cour ...

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Blog: Inaccurate Translation Invalidates Arbitration Agreement

The Jackson|Lewis California Workplace Law Blog reports on a decision from the California Court of Appeal that held an automobile dealership that translated a sales contract into Spanish, but did not include the arbitration agreement in the translation, could not enforce the agreement. According to the decision, despite signing the English version of the contract (that did contain an arbitration provision), under California law, the arbitration agreement was not enforceable because (1) Spanish was the primary language of the party seeking to invalidate the arbitration agreement; (2) negotiations were conducted in Spanish; and (3) the party seeking to invalidate the arbitration agreement was unaware of the arbitration provision in the Spanish version of the contract.

Texas: No interlocutory appeal from order granting arbitration

In Prophet Ronald Dwayne Whitfield v. Big Star Honda, et al., the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas held that under the Texas Arbitration Act or the Federal Arbitration Act, there is no interlocutory appeal over an order granting a motion to compel arbitration. An appellate court has no jurisdiction in that instance and must dismiss the appeal. The Court of Appeals noted an exception to that rule, established by the Texas Supreme Court in In re Gulf Exploration, LLC, 289 S.W.3d 836, 840 (Tex. 2009): courts may review an order compelling arbitration if the order also dismisses the underlying litigation so it is final, rather than interlocutory.

Here, the trial court entered no final judgment and the arbitration order stayed the litigation but did not dismiss the case. Accordingly, the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction and the appeal was dismissed.

Thanks to Ronnie Hornberger for bringing this decision to our attention.

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