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From the monthly archives: October, 2015

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

Texas: Arbitration agreement with employee enforceable even though she did not sign

In Firstlight Federal Credit Union v. Loya, the Eighth District Court of Appeals held that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to compel arbitration. The court held that Loya, an at-will employee, was bound by the arbitration agreement as a matter of law despite her lack of signature because she continued working after receiving notice of the arbitration agreement. According to the Court of Appeals, there was evidence that Loya received a notice of the arbitration policy and acknowledged its receipt electronically through a secure web-portal. It was undisputed that Loya did not print, sign, and return the online version of the company's Dispute Resolution Policy & Procedure. The Court of Appeals also examined the "delegation clause" of the agreement--that portion of the agreement that determines whether the court or the arbitrator has the power to rule on gateway issues, such as the validity and enforceability of the arbitration agreement. Here, the Court of Appeals held that the agree ...

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Texas: Arbitration agreement between law firm and client is enforceable

In Parallel Networks, LLC v. Jenner & Block, LLP, the Fifth District Court of Appeals examined the trial court's judgment confirming an arbitration award. The law firm, Jenner & Block, represented Parallel in patent infringement litigation pursuant to a contingent fee agreement. Jenner & Block later terminated its professional relationship with Parallel and alleged that Parallel owed it attorneys' fees--both under an hourly fee arrangement and a contingency fee arrangement. Jenner & Block filed a demand for arbitration and the arbitrator found that Parallel owed Jenner & Block $3,000,000 in attorneys' fees (hourly) and a sixteen percent contingency fee. The Court of Appeals held that the trial court correctly enforced the arbitration award. The arbitration provision was not unconscionable nor did it violate public policy. Using the FAA, the statutory grounds for vacating an arbitration award did not exist here, according to the court.   Note: Parallel has filed a Mo ...

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Texas: Agreement to arbitrate employment agreement enforceable

In Ophthalmic Consultants of Texas, P.A. v. Morales, the Thirteenth District Court of Appeals held that the agreement to arbitrate between an ophthalmology specialist and his employer was enforceable. The employee sought to have the agreement declared invalid on a number of grounds, including the defenses of it being an illusory agreement, it failed for indefiniteness, it was substantively unconscionable, and that the employer waived its right to arbitrate. The Court of Appeals held that the agreement to arbitrate was valid and enforceable.

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

What is a Reasoned Award?

This blog is written by Lionel M. Schooler, a partner in the Houston office of Jackson Walker L.L.P.  He currently serves as the Chair-Elect of the State Bar Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and as the Chair-Elect of the Houston Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.  Mr. Schooler is a frequent writer and speaker on arbitration arbitrator and member of the State Bar of Texas' ADR Council. Lonnie is the chair-elect of the ADR Section. Thank you, Lonnie, for this contribution. Experienced Arbitrators and advocates frequently use boilerplate terms without pausing to decide what they actually mean.  The undoubtedly unanticipated consequence of such casual usage of the term “reasoned award” was on full display on October 8, when the Houston First Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Stage Stores, Inc. v. Gunnerson, addressing a question of first impression:  what is meant by the term “reasoned award” in an arbitration claus ...

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