Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 of Cameron County,
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Hinojosa and Tijerina
appellants Harald and Heather Thiel (the Thiels) appeal from
the trial court's confirmation of an arbitrator's
award in appellate cause numbers 13-18-00151-CV and
13-18-00358-CV. In a brief with multifarious issues, the
Thiels appear to challenge the trial court's judgment
confirming an arbitrator's award in appellate cause
numbers 13-18-00151-CV and 13-18-00538-CV. We affirm.
appellate cause number 13-18-00151-CV, the Thiels sued
appellee Peter Zavaletta, their former attorney, for breach
of fiduciary duty, and in appellate cause number
13-18-00538-CV, the Thiels sued appellees International Bank
of Commerce and its employees Fred W. Rustenberg, Charles
Willette Jr., and Dianne M. Barteck (collectively the IBC
parties) for alleged "torts" they committed in
relation to Zavaletta's alleged breach of fiduciary
duty. Each appellee filed a motion to compel
arbitration in both causes, which the trial court granted
after conducting two separate hearings.Separate
arbitrations were held in both appellate causes.
the arbitration in appellate cause number 13-18-00358-CV, the
IBC parties filed motions to confirm the arbitrator's
award granting a take-nothing judgment against the Thiels and
to enter a final judgment. The trial court held a hearing on
the matter, granted the IBC parties' motions to confirm
the arbitration award, and entered a final take-nothing
judgment against the Thiels. Subsequently, in appellate cause
number 13-18-00151-CV, the arbitrator awarded the Thiels $19,
190 in their case against Zavaletta. The Thiels filed a
motion to confirm the arbitrator's award and to enter
final judgment, which the trial court granted. The trial
court then entered a final judgment ordering Zavaletta to pay
the Thiels $19, 190. In that cause, the Thiels filed a motion
asking that the trial court order Zavaletta to pay them $5,
100. The trial court held a hearing on the motion and denied
it. These appeals followed.
their sole issue, as we understand it, in appellate cause
number 13-18-00151-CV, the Thiels contend that the trial
court's judgment confirming the arbitrator's award is
erroneous because the arbitrator failed to award them $5, 100
they claim Zavaletta owed them in "false
fees." The Thiels offer no reason why the trial
court's judgment confirming the arbitration award in
appellate cause number 13-18-00358-CV is erroneous.
parties respond that the Thiels' brief is inadequate, and
therefore they have waived their issues. In addition, the
IBC parties contend that "[b]ecause the matter was
properly compelled to arbitration and [the Thiels] have not
even asked for vacatur, there is no basis upon which to
disturb the trial court's final judgment on appeal."
arbitration award is given the same effect as a judgment of
last resort and all reasonable presumptions are indulged in
favor of the award and none against it." Black v.
Shore, 443 S.W.3d 154, 161 (Tex. App.-Corpus
Christi-Edinburg 2013, pet. denied); Pheng Invs., Inc. v.
Rodriquez, 196 S.W.3d 322, 329 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth
2006, no pet.) (explaining that "all reasonable
presumptions are indulged in favor of the [arbitration]
award, and the award is conclusive on the parties as to all
matters of fact and law"). Our review of a trial
court's decision to vacate or confirm an arbitration
award is de novo, and we review the entire record.
Black, 443 S.W.3d at 161 (citing In re
Guardianship of Cantu de Villarreal, 330 S.W.3d 11, 17
(Tex. App.-Corpus Christi-Edinburg 2010, no pet.);
Centex/Vestal v. Friendship W. Baptist Church, 314
S.W.3d 677, 683 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, pet. denied);
Xtria L.L.C. v. Int'l Ins. Alliance Inc., 286
S.W.3d 583, 591 (Tex. App.- Texarkana 2009, pet. denied);
GJR Mgmt. Holdings, L.P. v. Jack Raus, Ltd., 126
S.W.3d 257, 262 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2003, pet. denied)).
"Although we review de novo a trial court's judgment
confirming an arbitration award, we give 'strong
deference to the arbitrator with respect to issues properly
left to the arbitrator's resolution.' Our review
focuses on the integrity of the process, not the propriety of
the result." Id. at 162.
arbitrator has broad discretion in fashioning an appropriate
remedy. Roe v. Ladymon, 318 S.W.3d 502, 523 (Tex.
App.-Dallas 2010, no pet.). We will not reverse an
arbitrator's award for a mere mistake of fact or law.
Crossmark, Inc. v. Hazar, 124 S.W.3d 422, 434-35
(Tex. App.-Dallas 2004, pet. denied). However, "[w]here
an arbitrator exceeds his contractual authority, vacation or
modification of the award is an appropriate remedy."
Am. Eagle Airlines, Inc. v. Air Line Pilots Ass'n,
Int'l, 343 F.3d 401, 406 (5th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Delta Queen Steamboat Co. v. Dist. 2 Marine Eng'rs
Beneficial Ass'n, AFL-CIO, 889 F.2d 599, 602 (5th
five grounds for vacating an arbitrator's award are
limited to the following: (1) the award was due to
corruption, fraud, or undue influence; (2) a party was
prejudiced by the evident partiality, or by the corruption,
fraud, or undue influence; (3) the arbitrator exceeded his
powers; (4) the arbitrator refused to postpone the hearing,
refused to hear evidence material to the controversy, or
otherwise conducted the hearing so as to substantially
prejudice the rights of a party; or (5) there was no
arbitration agreement and the complaining party participated
at the arbitration over his objection. Tex. Civ. Prac. &
Rem. Code Ann. § 171.088; Crossmark, Inc., 124
S.W.3d at 430.
appellate cause number 13-18-00358-CV, the Thiels make no
argument regarding why the arbitrator's award can be
vacated on any ground. Moreover, there is no reporter's
record of the arbitration proceeding. Without a record, we
are to presume that adequate evidence supported the
arbitrator's award. GJR Mgmt. Holdings, L.P. v.
Raus, 126 S.W.3d 257, 263 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2003,
pet. denied); Anzilotti v. Gene D. Liggin, Inc., 899
S.W.2d 264, 267 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1995, no
pet.). Therefore, we conclude that the Thiels have not met
their appellate burden of showing that the arbitrator's
award was improper on any basis. See Tex. R. App. P.
38.1(i); see also City of Weslaco v. Castillo, No.
13-06-023-CV, 2007 WL 2811631, at *4 (Tex. App.- Corpus
Christi-Edinburg Sept. 27, 2007, no pet.) (mem. op.)
(explaining that the burden is on party challenging ...