law-agreement to arbitration | enforceable agreement regarding arbitration | confirmation of arbitration award
"Whether an enforceable agreement to arbitrate exists is a legal question entitled to de novo review." In re Kepka,
178 S.W.3d 279, 286 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, orig. proceeding [leave dism'd]); Mohamed v. Auto
Nation USA Corp., 89 S.W.3d 830, 835 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, no pet.). The parties do not dispute
that the arbitration agreement is governed by the FAA. See 9 U.S.C.S. §§ 1-307 (LexisNexis 2008). Under the
FAA, a party to a contract containing an arbitration agreement may challenge the arbitration agreement itself on
"grounds as exist at law or in equity for revocation of any contract." 9 U.S.C.S. § 2; see also In re Poly-America,
L.P., 262 S.W.3d 337, 347 (Tex. 2008) (citing First Options of Chicago, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 944, 115 S.
Ct. 1920, 1924 (1995)) ("In determining the validity of an agreement to arbitrate under the FAA, courts must first
apply state law governing contract formation.").
The law favoring arbitration does not go so far as to create an obligation to arbitrate where none exists. See Volt
Info. Scis., Inc. v. Bd. of Trs. of Leland Stanford Junior Univ., 489 U.S. 468, 478, 109 S. Ct. 1248, 1255 (1989)
(arbitration "is a matter of consent, not coercion"); In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 166 S.W.3d 732, 738 (Tex.
2005) (FAA "does not require parties to arbitrate when they have not agreed to do so") (quoting Volt, 489 U.S. at
478, 109 S. Ct. at 1255). Although there exists a strong presumption favoring arbitration, "the presumption arises
only after the party seeking to compel arbitration proves that a valid arbitration agreement exists." Kepka, 178
S.W.3d at 286; Mohamed, 89 S.W.3d at 835; see also Fleetwood Enters., Inc. v. Gaskamp, 280 F.3d 1069, 1073
& n.5 (5th Cir. 2002) ("[F]ederal policy favoring arbitration does not apply to the determination of whether there is
a valid agreement to arbitrate between the parties . . ."; further, "the federal policy favoring arbitration does not
extend to a determination of who is bound . . . ."). "Under the FAA, ordinary principles of state contract law
determine whether there is a valid agreement to arbitrate." Kellogg Brown & Root, 166 S.W.3d at 738.
Fogal v. Stature Construction (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jan. 29, 2009)(Alcala)
(confirmation of arbitration award, no waiver, challenges to arb award overruled, award confirmed, open courts)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Alcala
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Alcala
01-07-00456-CV Mary Fogal and Robert Fogal v. Stature Construction, Inc., Jorge Casimiro, Tom Thibodeau and
Appeal from 80th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Lynn Bradshaw-Hull