Denial of Motion to Compel Arbitration Stands

In AXA Financial, Inc. v. Roberts, a consolidated interlocutory appeal and mandamus proceeding previously discussed here, the Third Court of Appeals has turned away efforts to compel arbitration under both the Texas and federal statutes.  The court first held that it lacked jurisdiction over the interlocutory appeal because the notice of appeal was not filed timely (within 20 days of the district court’s order denying the motion to compel arbitration) and because a "motion to reconsider" neither extended the appellate timetable nor qualified as an independently appealable order.  Considering the mandamus petition, the court of appeals concluded that the relator failed to establish the existence of an arbitration agreement covering the dispute and that the district court acted within its discretion in refusing to consider "new" evidence submitted with the motion to reconsider.

This opinion contains a good summary of Texas arbitration law, particularly the procedure and burdens of proof relating to a motion to compel arbitration.  The lessons learned are (1) remember that an appeal from an order denying a motion to compel arbitration is accelerated, making the notice of appeal due in 20 days rather than the usual 30; and (2) if you are the movant, gather and present your evidence on the first go-round because you might not get a second chance.