In Kreit and Kreit v. Brewer & Pritchard, PC, the Fourtheent Court of Appeals held that the trial court properly ruled that the Kreit brothers agreed to arbitration in their engagement agreement with the law firm of Brewer & Pritchard.
In dispute is whether the firm represented the brothers (who are medical doctors) in their individual capacities or Cleveland Imaging and Surgical Hospital, LLC. According to the court's opinion, the Kreit brothers contend they only intended to obtain representation on behalf of the LLC. The brother further contend irregularities with the law firm's fee agreement: that the firm "co-mingled individual pages from separate proposals to create a 'Frankenstein' contract to which the [brothers] never agreed as a whole."
An arbitration was conducted in accordance with the rulese for expedited, documents-only proceeding, after the firm sought payment of $40,000.00 in fees and $1,175.00 in expenses. The brothers appeared pro se. The arbitrator issued an award finding the brothers signed the fee agreement, they were bound individually, the agreement was enforceable, and the brothers breached the agreement by failing to pay the fees.
After seeking confirmation of the award, the brothers filed motions to vacate the award arguing, amongst other things, that there was no arbitration agreement signed by the brothers, individually.
The Court of Appeals wrote that the record did not contain the arbitration transcripts, so there was no admissible evidence proving that the objection to the lack of an agreement to arbitrate was made at the arbitration. Accordingly, the ground for vacatur under 171.088(a)(4) was not made. In conclusion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment confirming the arbitration award because the Kreit brothers did not establish any statutory grounds for vacatur.
On appeal, the firm sought damages under TRAP 45, contending the appeal was frivolous. Even thought the issues raised by the brothers were overruled, the court did not find that the appeal was objectively frivolous.
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