Supreme Court of Texas Blog

No. 12-0739
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AMERICO LIFE, INC., AMERICO FINANCIAL LIFE AND ANNUITY INSURANCE COMPANY, GREAT SOUTHERN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, THE OHIO STATE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, AND NATIONAL FARMERS UNION LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY v. ROBERT L. MYER AND STRIDER MARKETING GROUP, INC.

Oral argument was held on November 6, 2013. The Court issued an opinion resolving the case on June 20, 2014. It then denied rehearing on October 3, 2014 File Closed

In the news...

Tracking 4 articles about this case.

June 20, 2014

Eight sets of opinions, one grant [Jun. 20, 2014]

from SCOTXblog

This article also mentions 10 other cases.

August 26, 2013

Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Involving Arbitrator Disqualification

from Disputing

August 23, 2013

8 Decisions, 10 Grants, and More [Aug. 23, 2013]

from SCOTXblog

This article also mentions 17 other cases.

Opinions

June 20, 2014

Brown
Hecht
Green
Guzman
Devine

Justice Brown delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Hecht, Justice Green, Justice Guzman, and Justice Devine joined. PDF

Johnson
Willett
Lehrmann
Boyd

Justice Johnson delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Willett, Justice Lehrmann, and Justice Boyd joined. PDF

 

Court of Appeals

Appellate District:5th Court of Appeals
Outcome Below:Reverse & Remand
COA Docket No.:05-08-01053-CV
Opinion Author:Honorable Michael O'Neill

Trial Court

Trial Court:193rd District Court
County:Dallas
Trial Judge:Honorable Carl Haralson Ginsberg
Trial Docket:DC-07-06538

Docket Entries

Date Event Outcome  
2015-05-22 Notice received  
2015-01-07 Notice received  
2014-11-14 Case Stored  
2014-10-03 Motion for Rehearing - Disposed Denied
2014-10-03 Mandate issued  
  This case was waiting for a decision about a pending motion for rehearing between August 7, 2014 and October 3, 2014.  
2014-08-07 Case forwarded to Court
2014-08-07 Motion for Rehearing  
2014-06-25 Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Rehearing  
2014-06-25 Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Rehearing disposed   Filing granted
2014-06-20 Opinion issued   Court of Appeals' judgment reversed, trial court judgment reinstated
2014-06-20 Dissenting opinion issued. Issued
2014-06-20 Court approved judgment sent to attorneys of record Issued
  This case was awaiting the Court's decision after oral argument between December 6, 2013 and June 20, 2014.  
2013-12-06 Post submission brief filed (Petitioner)  
2013-12-06 Post submission brief filed (Petitioner)  
2013-11-12 Post submission brief filed (Respondent)  
2013-11-06 Oral argument  
2013-11-05 Exhibits in case/cause filed (Respondent)  
2013-10-29 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received  
2013-10-25 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received  
2013-10-25 Phone call from Clerk's Office  
  This case was waiting for oral argument between August 30, 2013 and October 25, 2013.  
2013-08-30 Case set for oral argument   Case set for oral argument
2013-08-23 Petition for Review granted
2013-08-23 Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
2013-07-25 Reply Brief (Petitioner)  
2013-07-10 Brief on the Merits (Respondent)  
2013-05-24 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2013-05-24 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2013-05-21 Brief on the Merits (Petitioner)  
2013-04-24 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2013-04-24 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2013-04-22 Case Record Filed  
2013-04-08 Notice from Counsel of a change in address  
2013-03-29 Brief on the Merits Requested  
2013-03-29 Record Requested in Petition for Review  
2013-03-06 Reply to Response (Petitioner)  
2013-02-19 MET to file reply disposed of   Filing granted
2013-02-19 Motion to Extend Time to File Reply filed  
2013-02-06 Response to Petition (Respondent)  
2012-12-19 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response disposed   Filing granted
2012-12-18 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response  
2012-12-07 Supreme Court of Texas Requested Response  
2012-11-06 Case forwarded to Court
2012-11-05 Response Waiver filed  
2012-10-22 Petition for Review (Petitioner)  
2012-09-13 Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
2012-09-13 Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review filed  

Parties

Party Counsel Role
Americo Life, Inc.
Mr. Roger B. Cowie
Ms. Susan A. Kidwell
Mr. G. Alan Waldrop
Mr. Mike A. Hatchell
Mr. Edwin R. DeYoung
Petitioner
Myer, Robert L.
Ms. Amy L. Saberian
Mr. Craig T. Enoch
Mr. D. Douglas Brothers
Ms. Melissa Prentice Lorber
Mr. Peter E. Ferraro
Respondent
 
 

Arbitration agreement's limitations on choice of arbitrator

The contract with this arbitration clause was signed several years ago, at a time when it was common to have an arbitration panel of three members, two of whom would be selected by the parties (and expected to be partial) who would then pick a neutral, third arbitrator. Since then, the AAA has changed its rules to provide that all three arbitrators should be impartial.

Applying those new rules, the AAA disqualified the first arbitrator nominated by one of the parties. Eventually, a panel of three impartial arbitrators was selected, consistent with the new version of the AAA rules. When that panel came back with an unfavorable award, the party moved to vacate it on the ground that it was inconsistent with the parties' agreement.

The Texas Supreme Court split 5-4 over the propriety of vacating the award. The majority held that the award should be vacated because the parties' agreement should control over the AAA rules. It held that, by specifying other characteristics ("knowledgeable" and "independent"), the parties meant to speak comprehensively and thus the agreement was "not in need of gap-filling from the AAA rules." Thus, the arbitration procedure followed was not the one agreed.

The dissent argued that, if the parties had meant to freeze the AAA rules at a specific moment in time, they could have specified that. Instead, the AAA rules provide that each arbitration is governed by the rules in effect when arbitration is commenced, not when the agreement was signed. The dissent would have held that the new provisions in the AAA rules could be harmonized with the parties' agreement and thus would have upheld the award.

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