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Romero v. Herrera

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

June 12, 2019

Raymond G. ROMERO, Appellant
v.
Frank HERRERA, Jr., Appellee

          From the 285th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial Court No. 2018CI08392 Honorable Karen H. Pozza, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice Beth Watkins, Justice

          OPINION

          Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice

         Frank Herrera, Jr. filed the underlying suit to enjoin part of an ongoing arbitration proceeding and sought a declaration from the trial court that one of his several contract disputes with Raymond Romero is not arbitrable. Romero filed a motion to compel arbitration, which the trial court denied. The trial court rendered a partial summary judgment order declaring the disputed contract claim not arbitrable. We reverse the trial court's order denying the motion to compel and remand with instructions. We dismiss Romero's appeal of the partial summary judgment order.

         Background

         Herrera and Romero, as well as two others who are not parties to this appeal, entered into four agreements for purposes of forming a business entity that would provide wheel and tire manufacturing and assembly services to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Inc., located in San Antonio, Texas. Two of the four agreements, described below, contain arbitration provisions:

The Joint Venture Agreement (the Valiente Agreement): This contract is a joint venture agreement executed on December 15, 2004, to create Valiente International Ventures. This contract, signed by Herrera and Romero in their individual capacities, does not contain an arbitration agreement.
Limited Partnership Agreement: This contract was executed on December 16, 2004, and formed a limited partnership, Hero Assemblers. This contract contains an arbitration agreement and was signed by Herrera and Romero in their individual capacities.
The Company Agreement: This contract was executed on December 16, 2004, to form Hero Management to serve as Hero Assemblers' general partner. This contract also contains an arbitration agreement and was signed by Herrera and Romero in their individual capacities.
Non-Compete Agreement: This contract was executed on December 16, 2004, and the parties agreed not to compete in North America. This Non-Compete contract is incorporated by reference into both the Limited Partnership Agreement and the Company Agreement, but does not itself contain an arbitration agreement.

         In February 2018, Romero filed claims in arbitration against Herrera for allegedly starting a competing company in Mexico. In the arbitration proceeding, Romero alleged Herrera breached the Non-Compete Agreement, and further alleged Herrera's breach of the Non-Compete Agreement breached the other three agreements.

         Herrera filed a lawsuit against Romero in district court seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees. Herrera sought numerous declarations including:

• "The Valiente Agreement does not authorize Defendant to compel the arbitration of his claims or requests for relief against Plaintiff which arise from or relate to the Valiente Agreement";
• The Valiente Agreement does not include any of the terms and conditions of the Company and Limited ...

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