Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
from the 402nd District Court of Wood County, Texas (Tr.Ct.
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
Parker appeals the trial court's judgment confirming an
arbitration award in favor of United-Bilt Homes, LLC. She
presents one issue on appeal. We affirm.
23, 2010, Sherry and William Parker entered into a Home
Building Agreement in which United-Bilt agreed to construct a
home on the Parkers' land. The parties also executed a
Retail Installment Contract and a Builder's and
Mechanic's Lien Contract. The Parkers ceased making
payments on the contract after December 5, 2011. Due to the
non-payment, United-Bilt initiated foreclosure proceedings
and scheduled a foreclosure sale for October 2, 2012.
filed suit in a Wood County district court to enjoin the
foreclosure. United-Bilt removed the case to the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The
federal court ordered the parties to proceed to mediation and
arbitration. United-Bilt filed a demand for arbitration with
the American Arbitration Association requesting relief
against both William and Sherry. The parties subsequently
attended an unsuccessful mediation, after which arbitration
proceedings occurred. The arbitrator ruled in favor of
United-Bilt on September 30, 2014. The arbitration award
granted United-Bilt $125, 310.29 in damages, accruing
interest at the rate of $25.48 per day, along with
arbitration fees and costs, and allowed United-Bilt to
foreclose after an additional thirty days. William asked the
federal court to set aside the arbitration award and
United-Bilt asked that it be confirmed. The federal court
confirmed the award, and William filed an appeal with the
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
the Parkers failed to comply with the arbitration award,
United-Bilt scheduled another foreclosure sale for September
1, 2015. In response, William claimed that he had a potential
buyer for his property and asked that (1) he receive an
additional forty-four days to conduct the sale; and (2)
United-Bilt agree to a reduced payoff amount. Thereafter,
United-Bilt agreed to accept payment of $125, 000, and the
parties agreed to sign the agreement on the date of the
scheduled foreclosure sale. Pursuant to this settlement and
release agreement, the Parkers were to dismiss the federal
lawsuit within ten days, dismiss the appeal to the Fifth
Circuit, and pay the $125, 000 to United-Bilt within
the Parkers failed to make payment under the settlement and
release agreement, United-Bilt scheduled a foreclosure sale
for April 5, 2016. Sherry then filed suit in Wood County
seeking a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction,
permanent injunction, and declaratory judgment. United-Bilt
filed a counterclaim for confirmation of the arbitration
award. At a bench trial, the trial court found that "the
Parkers failed to take any of the action required of them by
the [settlement] agreement and I deny the relief requested by
the Plaintiffs and find for the Defendant, that they can go
forward on the foreclosure." The trial court signed an
order that confirmed the arbitration award, adopted the
arbitrator's findings and judgment, rendered judgment in
favor of United-Bilt, authorized United-Bilt to proceed with
foreclosure, and denied Sherry's requested relief. This
of Arbitration Award
sole issue, Sherry contends the trial court erred in finding
the settlement and release agreement was a valid contract.
She argues that she was not a proper party to the settlement
agreement, lacked the capacity to enter into the agreement,
and signed the agreement as a result of undue influence.
Therefore, Sherry maintains that the trial court erroneously
rendered a verdict in favor of United-Bilt.
appeal, Sherry maintains that the trial court erred by
determining the validity of the post-arbitration settlement
agreement. However, the trial court's judgment makes no
mention of the settlement and release agreement. Although the
trial court verbally found that the Parkers failed to comply
with the settlement agreement, the written judgment grants
United-Bilt relief on its counterclaim for confirmation of
the arbitration award. A trial court's written judgment
prevails over oral pronouncements made at trial. See
Seasha Pools, Inc. v. Hardister, 391 S.W.3d 635, 640
(Tex. App.-Austin 2012, no pet.). Thus, the judgment reflects
the trial court's confirmation of the arbitration award,
not enforcement of the settlement agreement. Accordingly,
whether Sherry was a proper party to the settlement
agreement, possessed the capacity to enter the agreement, or
was unduly influenced into signing the agreement are not
questions necessary to final disposition of this
appeal. See Tex. R. App. P. 47.1.
extent Sherry's argument may be construed as encompassing
a challenge to the trial court's confirmation of the
arbitration award, review of an arbitration award is
extraordinarily narrow. Patel v. Moin, No.
14-15-00851-CV, 2016 WL 4254016, at *2 (Tex. App.-Houston
[14th Dist.] Aug. 11, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (Texas
Arbitration Act); Amoco D.T. Co. v. Occidental Petroleum
Corp., 343 S.W.3d 837, 844 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th
Dist.] 2011, pet. denied) (Federal Arbitration Act). All
reasonable preferences are indulged in favor of the award.
Patel, 2016 WL 4254016, at *3; Amoco D.T.,
343 S.W.3d at 841. A party ...