DALLAS COUNTY—On November 6, 2019, Dallas Appellate Partner Elizabeth Lee Thompson obtained a significant appellate victory in the Fifth District Court of Appeals at Dallas for attorney Daniel K. Hagood, P.C. and law firm Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith and Uhl, LLP. The attorney and law firm had sought to uphold an arbitration award that awarded them unpaid legal fees and denied a former client’s counterclaim for malpractice. The former client claimed that non-disclosed information concerning the arbitrator’s supposed ownership interest in the dispute resolution company demonstrated the arbitrator’s evident partiality. The client asserted that, as a result, the trial court erred in denying him post-judgment discovery and denying his motion to set aside the judgment.
The Court of Appeals ruled that the former client was not entitled to post-judgment discovery regarding the arbitrator’s allegedly inadequate disclosures. The Court concluded that the sought discovery was not permissible post-judgment discovery under rule of civil procedure 621a and the record and cited authorities did not support the client’s right to post-judgment discovery.
In addition, the Court concluded there was no basis to overturn the arbitration award. The Court noted that the client did not object—but instead consented—to the confirmation of the arbitration award. Further, the Court concluded that the client presented no evidence to support his allegations because nothing in the record reflected either the content of the disclosures or the arbitrator’s alleged ownership interest in the company. As a result, the client failed to meet his burden in the trial court to show the existence of facts that establish a reasonable impression of the arbitrator’s partiality.
The case is Raley v. Daniel K. Hagood, P.C., No. 05-18-00914-CV, 2019 WL 5781916 (Tex. App.—Dallas Nov. 6, 2019, no. pet. h.).