Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 44th Judicial District Court, Dallas County,
Texas, Trial Court Cause No. DC-16-07300.
Justices Lang-Miers, Brown, and Boatright.
Carol Lee Craig appeals from a final judgment confirming an
arbitration award. In two issues, she contends the trial
court erred in dismissing her motion to vacate the
arbitration award because she timely served notice of the
motion and, even if the service was untimely, the trial court
should have equitably tolled the deadline for service. For
the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's final
judgment confirming the arbitration award.
in 2007, Craig held an investment account and a traditional
IRA account with appellee Southwest Securities, Inc. (SWS).
Appellee John C. Coyle, a SWS investment representative,
served as Craig's broker. From 2007 to 2009, Craig's
accounts lost value.
2014, Craig filed an arbitration proceeding before the
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) asserting a
number of different causes of action allegedly resulting from
appellees' mismanagement of her accounts and failure to
follow her investment objectives. Both Craig and appellees
agreed the arbitration dispute would be governed by the
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Following a hearing, an
arbitration panel entered an award denying all of Craig's
claims on March 18, 2016.
16, 2016, Craig electronically filed "Movant's
Motion to Vacate Arbitration Decision" in the
44th Judicial District Court of Dallas County and
paid a filing fee. Craig did not request issuance of
citations or service. Instead, her counsel emailed a copy of
the motion to Clint Corrie, appellees' counsel in the
underlying arbitration proceeding. Craig's motion
complained of the arbitrators' partiality and false
statements by appellees' counsel, which "tainted the
award with fraud and/or undue means."
September 1, 2016, Craig filed a supplemental motion, which
was identical to her original motion with the exception of
incorporating previously-unavailable citations to the record
from the arbitration panel hearing. Craig delivered a copy of
the supplemental motion to appellees' counsel by
certified mail, return receipt requested. Further, Craig
sought issuances of citation from the Dallas County
Clerk's Office and, thereafter, SWS, through its
registered agent for process, and Coyle were served with
process and citation.
subsequently filed a motion requesting the trial court
dismiss Craig's motion to vacate and confirm the
arbitration decision. They contended Craig failed to properly
serve her initial motion to dismiss on appellees within three
months after the arbitration award was issued as required
under the FAA. After a hearing, the trial court signed an
Order granting appellees' motion. That same day, the
trial court also signed a final judgment confirming the
arbitration award and stating that the judgment "fully
and finally disposes of all claims and parties and is
therefore, final and appealable."
law strongly favors arbitration; thus, review of an
arbitration decision is "extraordinarily narrow."
Univ. Computer Sys., Inc. v. Dealer Solutions, 183
S.W.3d 741, 752 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, pet.
denied). We review a district court's order confirming an
arbitration award under a de novo standard. Peacock v.
Wave Tec Pools, Inc., 107 S.W.3d 631 (Tex. App.-Waco
2003, no pet.).
parties agree the FAA governs this arbitration dispute. In
such a case, the FAA applies to the substantive rules of
decision, but Texas law, and specifically the Texas General
Arbitration Act (TAA),  governs the procedural matters. In
re Chestnut Energy Partners, 300 S.W.3d 386, 395-96
(Tex. App.-Dallas 2009, pet. denied) (citing Jack B.
Anglin Co. v. Tipps, 842 S.W.2d 266, 272 (Tex. 1992));
Roehrs v. FSI Holdings Inc., 246 S.W.3d 796, 804
(Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, pet. denied); Holcim (Tx.) Ltd.
P'ship v. Humboldt Wedge, Inc., 211 S.W.3d 796,
800-01 (Tex. App.-Waco 2006, no pet.); Hamm v. Millennium
Income Fund, LLC, 178 S.W.3d ...