East Texas Salt Water Disposal Co., Inc. v. Werline (pdf), No. 07-0135 (Tex. Mar. 12, 2010)
(Hecht)(TGAA appealability of order vacating award and ordering re-arbitration)
6th district (06-06-00039-CV, 209 SW3d 888, 12-18-06)    
The Court affirms the court of appeals' judgment.
Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice O'Neill, Justice Wainwright, Justice Johnson,
Justice Willett, and Justice Guzman joined. [
Willett delivered a concurring opinion. [pdf]
Justice Jefferson delivered a dissenting opinion [pdf], in which Justice Medina and Justice Green joined.
Electronic Briefs in 07-0135 EAST TEX. SALT WATER DISPOSAL, CO., INC. v. WERLINE   

East Texas Salt Water Disposal Co., Inc. v. Werline (Tex. 2010)(Hecht)

Argued January 16, 2008

       Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice O’Neill, Justice Wainwright, Justice
Johnson, Justice Willett, and Justice Guzman joined.

       Justice Willett filed a concurring opinion.

       Chief Justice Jefferson filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Medina and Justice Green joined.

       The issue in this case is whether the Texas General Arbitration Act (TAA)1 allows an appeal from a trial
court’s order that denies confirmation of an arbitration award and instead, vacates the award and directs that
the dispute be arbitrated anew. We hold that it does and accordingly affirm the judgment of the court of


       Petitioner East Texas Salt Water Disposal Company, an oilfield service business, employed respondent
Richard Leon Werline, an experienced petroleum engineer, as its Operations Manager under a written
Employment Agreement. If the Company materially breached the Agreement, Werline had the right to terminate
and receive two years’ salary as severance pay. A little over halfway into the Agreement’s five-year term,
Werline gave notice of termination and demanded severance pay, claiming that the Company had changed his
position and stripped him of his duties. The Company denied that it had breached the Agreement and
contended that Werline had simply quit. As required by the Agreement, Werline and the Company submitted
their dispute to “final and binding” arbitration. They selected an AAA arbitrator, who, after a three-day hearing,
found for Werline and awarded him severance pay ($244,080.00), stipulated attorney fees ($28,272.50) and
expenses ($11,116.76), and costs ($9,535.73).

       The Company petitioned the district court to vacate, modify, or correct the award, and Werline
counterclaimed for confirmation. The Company did not assert in its petition, and made no effort to establish,
any of the grounds for vacating, modifying, or correcting an arbitration award under the TAA.3 Rather, the
Company argued that the award was so contrary to the evidence that it was arbitrary and capricious and
therefore the arbitrator must have been biased. Although Werline objected that these were not statutory
grounds for vacating an arbitration award, he and the Company submitted the verbatim record of the
arbitration hearing to the court and proceeded to argue their dispute all over again.

       The court’s judgment denied confirmation and vacated the arbitration award, holding that “the material
factual findings in the Award are so against the evidence . . . that they manifest gross mistakes in fact and law”.
4 The judgment also ordered that the matter be “re-submitted to arbitration by a new arbitrator with the sole
issue before that Arbitrator being whether or not there was a material breach of the Employment Agreement by
ETSWD [the Company] consistent with the findings in this Judgment.” Those findings were:

•           “There is no evidence to support a finding of a material breach of any provision of the Employment

•           “[A]n assignment of new and/or additional duties for Werline . . . was . . . not a material breach of the
Employment Agreement”;

•           “The change in Werline’s title . . . was not a material breach of the Employment Agreement”;

•           “There is no evidence to support a finding that . . . a material breach was committed by the Board of
Directors, officers, or representatives of ETSWD with regard to Werline and the Employment Agreement”; and

•           “Werline voluntarily resigned his employment with ETSWD”.

Thus, the do-over the court ordered was to be one in which every material fact, and even the result itself, were
already conclusively established against Werline.

       Werline appealed. The court of appeals held that it had jurisdiction to consider the appeal,5 that there
was evidence to support the award,6 and that “[t]he arbitrator did not err so egregiously as to imply bad faith
or a failure to exercise honest judgment”.7 Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court’s judgment and
rendered judgment confirming the award.8

       The Company petitions for review on one ground only: that the court of appeals had no jurisdiction over
the appeal under section 171.098(a) of the TAA.


       Section 171.098(a) states:

A party may appeal a judgment or decree entered under this chapter or an order:

(1) denying an application to compel arbitration . . . ;

(2) granting an application to stay arbitration . . . ;

(3) confirming or denying confirmation of an award;

(4) modifying or correcting an award; or

(5) vacating an award without directing a rehearing.

The district court’s judgment expressly denied confirmation of Werline’s arbitration award and was thus
appealable under subsection (3).

       But the Company argues that the statute cannot be read so simply or so literally. Rather, the Company
contends, subsection (5) implies (though it does not state) that a court order vacating an award and directing a
rehearing is not appealable, and that implication creates an exception to subsection (3), so that an order
denying confirmation and therefore appealable under subsection (3) is rendered not appealable by subsection
(5) if it also vacates the award and directs a rehearing. For several reasons, we disagree.

       First: The court’s judgment denying confirmation of the arbitration award fits squarely under subsection
(3). The judgment is not insulated from appellate review expressly conferred under subsection (3) merely
because the trial court also vacated the award and directed a rehearing. In denying Werline’s request for
confirmation of the award, the district court made clear that it rejected the award and all bases on which it
rested. The court went so far as to hold that the material facts the parties had vigorously disputed in the first
arbitration should all be established against Werline in the second arbitration.

       When an arbitration award is unclear or incomplete or contains an obvious error, a limited rehearing to
correct the problem is but a preface to determining confirmation, not a decision on the issue. If, for example,
the arbitrator’s award required clarification or interpretation,9 a rehearing for that limited purpose would not
necessarily be a denial of confirmation of the award, but merely a deferral of final ruling until the arbitration
was complete. When rehearing is necessary for the issue of confirmation to be fully presented, vacatur
pending rehearing is not appealable, not because the order falls outside subsection (5), but because it falls
outside subsection (3) and the rest of section 171.098(a).

       Second: The Company’s argument requires that subsection (5) operate as an exception to subsection
(3), even though it provides a separate basis for appeal. In essence, the Company reads subsection (3) to
allow an appeal from an order denying confirmation unless it also vacates the award and directs rehearing. But
section 171.098(a) is a disjunctive list of orders that can be appealed; it does not list orders that cannot be
appealed. The five subsections are connected by “or”. To equate

“denying confirmation . . . or . . . vacating an award without directing a rehearing”

with denying confirmation . . . but not if . . . vacating an award and directing a rehearing

is a strange reading of the word “or”. Instead of two separate categories of appealable orders, the Company
argues there should be but one smaller category. The proper construction of section 171.098(a) gives full,
literal effect to subsections (3) and (5) both. An order denying confirmation can be appealed, just as
subsection (3) provides, including a denial of confirmation in the form of a vacatur with rehearing; and an order
vacating an arbitration award without directing rehearing can be appealed, just as subsection (5) provides.

       Third: Because Texas law favors arbitration,10 judicial review of an arbitration award is extraordinarily
narrow.11 The right of appeal provided by section 171.098(a) assures that a trial court does not exceed the
limitations on its authority to review an arbitration award. Those limitations would be circumvented if re-
arbitration could be ordered for reasons that would not justify denying confirmation, and appeal thereby
delayed. As the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has observed: “Such a result would
disserve the policies that promote arbitration and restrict judicial review of awards.”12 And where, as here, the
parties have agreed to “final and binding” arbitration only for the Company to be given a Mulligan, their right to
contract is also subverted.

       The Company argues that the district court’s order should not be appealable because it was like granting
a motion for new trial in a case, which is not appealable. But the analogy does not fit. A new trial occurs in the
court that granted the motion; the rehearing here is not before the trial court but a separate tribunal, a new
arbitrator. The district court’s order is more like remanding an administrative decision to the agency for further
proceedings, which is ordinarily appealable.13 A still closer analogy would be to Texas appellate procedure.
An appellate court may direct a trial court to take corrective action while the appeal remains pending to allow
proper presentation of the appeal,14 and that directive is not appealable. But an appellate court judgment
remanding a case to the trial court for a new trial is certainly appealable. Similarly, an order vacating an
arbitration award and directing rehearing for the limited purpose of correcting, clarifying, or completing the
arbitration to allow proper presentation of issues relating to confirmation is not appealable, while an order
requiring a new arbitration is as final a decision as an appellate court’s remand of a case to a trial court for a
new trial, and therefore appealable.

       Fourth: The law in other states does not require that we embrace the Company’s argument. The TAA
provides that it “shall be construed to effect its purpose and make uniform the construction of other states’ law
applicable to an arbitration.”15 Other states appear to differ in whether an appeal should be allowed in the
situation here presented, although many cases are far from clear. In New York, where there is no statute
governing appeals in arbitration cases specifically, an appeal would be allowed.16 One other state, West
Virginia, has no specific statute. The Uniform Arbitration Act17 or the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act18
provision regarding appeals has been adopted in thirty-four other states and the District of Columbia,19 and
two other states have similar provisions.20 But even in these thirty-seven jurisdictions with similar statutory
language, the decisions directly addressing this issue fail to reach any sort of consensus. Courts in seven
states — California,21 Kentucky,22 Maine,23 Nebraska,24 Nevada,25 North Carolina26 and South Dakota27
— and in the District of Columbia28 have dismissed appeals from orders similar to the order in this case
providing both for vacatur and a rehearing. Courts in four states — Arizona,29 Massachusetts,30
Tennessee31 and Utah32 — have not. Courts in at least two states — Minnesota33 and Missouri34 — have
gone both ways. Six states have statutes more like the FAA.35 Courts in one of those states — Ohio — appear
to allow appeals when the federal courts would.36 Two other states have statutes more like the FAA but in
limited contexts.37 Three states have statutes allowing appeals in arbitration cases as in other civil cases.38
Of these, one, Alabama,39 would apparently allow an appeal like the one before us. Thus, the seventeen
jurisdictions, other than Texas, that have considered whether to allow appeal in a situation like the one in this
case appear about evenly divided on the issue. As a result, to “make uniform the construction of other states’
law” on the subject before us, as the TAA mandates,40 is beyond our power. We honor the statute’s spirit by
making matters no worse than they already are.

       Two courts of appeals have concluded that an appeal should not be allowed in this situation, and to that
extent, we disapprove them.41

* * *
       In sum: The district court’s order denied confirmation, expressly and effectively, and was thus made
appealable by the literal text of the TAA. The judgment of the court of appeals is accordingly
Nathan L. Hecht


Opinion delivered: March 12, 2010


1 Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 171.001-.098. All references to the TAA are to these provisions.

2 209 S.W.3d 888, 901 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2006).

3 Id. at 898 n.13 (“We note East Texas has not alleged any grounds [for vacatur] under the TAA.”).

               The grounds for vacating an award are set out in section 171.088(a), which states: “On application of a party, the court
shall vacate an award if: (1) the award was obtained by corruption, fraud, or other undue means; (2) the rights of a party were
prejudiced by: (A) evident partiality by an arbitrator appointed as a neutral arbitrator; (B) corruption in an arbitrator; or (C)
misconduct or wilful misbehavior of an arbitrator; (3) the arbitrators: (A) exceeded their powers; (B) refused to postpone the
hearing after a showing of sufficient cause for the postponement; (C) refused to hear evidence material to the controversy; or (D)
conducted the hearing, contrary to Section 171.043, 171.044, 171.045, 171.046, or 171.047, in a manner that substantially
prejudiced the rights of a party; or (4) there was no agreement to arbitrate, the issue was not adversely determined in a
proceeding under Subchapter B, and the party did not participate in the arbitration hearing without raising the objection.”

               The grounds for modifying or correcting an award are set out in section 171.091(a), which states: “On application, the
court shall modify or correct an award if: (1) the award contains: (A) an evident miscalculation of numbers; or (B) an evident
mistake in the description of a person, thing, or property referred to in the award; (2) the arbitrators have made an award with
respect to a matter not submitted to them and the award may be corrected without affecting the merits of the decision made with
respect to the issues that were submitted; or (3) the form of the award is imperfect in a manner not affecting the merits of the

4 The court’s judgment also stated that “[t]he Arbitrator . . . exceeded his authority by not limiting his findings and award to those
issues contractually established in the Employment Agreement”, even though the Agreement called for arbitration of “any
disagreement . . . under any provision”, and the arbitrator found that Werline was entitled to severance pay under the “Employer
Breach” provision of the Agreement. The Company does not argue on appeal that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by
deciding issues outside the contractual scope of arbitration.

5 209 S.W.3d at 896.

6 Id. at 901. The court commented: “We are not convinced an arbitration award can be reviewed for legal sufficiency of the
evidence. . . . However, it is not necessary for us to decide this issue since . . . there is clearly more than a scintilla of evidence
supporting the arbitrator’s award.” Id. at 898 n.14. We, of course, express no opinion on the subject.

7 Id. at 901. Although the Company did not assert any statutory basis for vacating the award, the court held that the common law,
in addition to the TAA, allows an arbitration to be set aside for “(1) fraud; (2) misconduct; or (3) such gross mistake as would
imply bad faith and failure to exercise honest judgment.” Id. at 898 (citing Riha v. Smulcer, 843 S.W.2d 289, 292 (Tex. App.–
Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, writ denied)). We express no opinion on this issue.

8 209 S.W.3d at 901.

9 See, e.g., Forsythe Int’l, S.A. v. Gibbs Oil Co., 915 F.2d 1017, 1020 (5th Cir. 1990), citing Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council,
AFL-CIO v. Gen. Elec. Co., 353 F.2d 302, 307-308 (9th Cir. 1965) (“We share the view of the district court that the opinion required
clarification and interpretation. We also share the view of the district court that this was a task to be first performed by the
arbitration committee and not the court, and that the court properly remanded the matter to the arbitration committee for such
clarification and interpretation.”); Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Ins. Co. v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s and Cos. Collective,
857 A.2d 893, 905-906 (Conn. 2004).

10 Prudential Sec., Inc. v. Marshall, 909 S.W.2d 896, 898 (Tex. 1995) (per curiam) (“Arbitration of disputes is strongly favored
under federal and state law.”) (citing, e.g., Moses H. Cone Mem’l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983)).

11 CVN Group, Inc. v. Delgado, 95 S.W.3d 234, 238 (Tex. 2002) (“[W]e have long held that ‘an award of arbitrators upon matters
submitted to them is given the same effect as the judgment of a court of last resort. All reasonable presumptions are indulged in
favor of the award, and none against it.’” (quoting City of San Antonio v. McKenzie Constr. Co., 150 S.W.2d 989, 996 (Tex. 1941)
(“The courts will not overthrow an award such as this, except in a very clear case.”))).

12 Forsythe Int’l, S.A. v. Gibbs Oil Co., 915 F.2d 1017, 1020 (5th Cir. 1990).

13 See, e.g., Tex. Gov’t Code §§ 2001.174 (allowing remand after judicial review in certain administrative cases) and 2001.901
(allowing appeal); see also R. R. Comm’n of Tex. v. Home Transp. Co., 654 S.W.2d 432 (Tex. 1983), and R.R. Comm’n of Tex. v.
Vidaurri Trucking, Inc., 661 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. 1983) (both holding final, for purposes of appeal, a trial court remand to an agency,
even with certain conditions or reservations, under former Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-13a, § 19(e), a statutory predecessor
to Tex. Gov’t Code § 2001.174).

14 Tex. R. App. P. 44.4 (“[I]f the trial court’s erroneous action or failure or refusal to act prevents the proper presentation of a case
to the court of appeals . . . and . . . the trial court can correct its action or failure to act . . . , the court of appeals must direct the trial
court to correct the error [and] will then proceed as if the erroneous action or failure to act had not occurred.”).

15 Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 171.003.

16 In re Baar & Beards, Inc., 282 N.E.2d 624, 625 (N.Y. 1972) (“An order vacating an arbitration award and directing a new
arbitration before new arbitrators is final and appealable.”).

17 Unif. Arbitration Act § 19(a), 7 U.L.A. 739 (1956) (“An appeal may be taken from: (1) An order denying an application to compel
arbitration made under Section 2; (2) An order granting an application to stay arbitration made under Section 2(b); (3) An order
confirming or denying confirmation of an award; (4) An order modifying or correcting an award; (5) An order vacating an award
without directing a rehearing; or (6) A judgment or decree entered pursuant to the provisions of this act.”).

18 Rev. Unif. Arbitration Act § 28(a), 7 U.L.A. 94 (2000) (“An appeal may be taken from: (1) an order denying a [motion] to compel
arbitration; (2) an order granting a [motion] to stay arbitration; (3) an order confirming or denying confirmation of an award; (4) an
order modifying or correcting an award; (5) an order vacating an award without directing a rehearing; or (6) a final judgment
entered pursuant to this [Act].”).

19 Alaska Stat. § 09.43.550; Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-2101.01; Ark. Code Ann. § 16-108-219; Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-22-228; Del.
Code Ann. tit. 10, § 5719; D.C. Code § 16-4427; Fla. Stat. § 682.20; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 658A-28; Idaho Code Ann. § 7-919; Ind.
Code § 34-57-2-19; Iowa Code § 679A.17; Kan. Stat. Ann. § 5-418; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 417.220; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, §
5945; Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 251, § 18 and ch. 150C, § 16; Minn. Stat. § 572.26; Mo. Rev. Stat. § 435.440; Mont. Code Ann. § 27-5-
324; Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2620; Nev. Rev. Stat. § 38.247; N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:23B-28; N.M. Stat. § 44-7A-29; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-
569.28; N.D. Cent. Code § 32-29.3-28; Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 1879; Or. Rev. Stat. § 36.730; 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7320; S.C. Code
Ann. § 15-48-200; S.D. Codified Laws § 21-25A-35; Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-5-319; Utah Code Ann. § 78B-11-129 (amended, in
2003, at (f), to “a final judgment entered pursuant to this chapter”); Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 5681; Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-581.016;
Wash. Rev. Code § 7.04A.280; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-36-119.

20 A Mississippi statute that applies only to arbitration under construction contracts uses UAA language. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-
15-141. A California statute uses language similar to the UAA. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1294 (“An aggrieved party may appeal
from: (a) An order dismissing or denying a petition to compel arbitration. (b) An order dismissing a petition to confirm, correct or
vacate an award. (c) An order vacating an award unless a rehearing in arbitration is ordered. (d) A judgment entered pursuant to
this title. (e) A special order after final judgment.”).

21 Long Beach Iron Works, Inc. v. Int’l Molders & Allied Workers Union of N. Am., Local 374, 103 Cal. Rptr. 200 (Cal. Ct. App.
1972); accord Kamboj v. Schofield, No. C048320, 2005 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5944, 2005 WL 1581255 (Cal. Ct. App. July 7,

22 Paul Miller Ford, Inc. v. Craycraft, Nos. 2005-CA-000634-MR and 2005-CA-000692-MR, 2005 Ky. App. LEXIS 152, 2005 WL
1593418 (Ky. Ct. App. July 8, 2005).

23 Me. Dep’t of Transp. v. Me. State Employees Ass’n, 581 A.2d 813 (Me. 1990); Crowley-King v. Kennebec Valley Radiology, P.
A., 580 A.2d 687 (Me. 1990).

24 Neb. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs. v. Struss, 623 N.W.2d 308 (Neb. 2001).

25 Karcher Firestopping v. Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc., 204 P.3d 1262 (Nev. 2009).

26 In re Arbitration Between the State of N.C. & Davidson & Jones Constr. Co., 323 S.E.2d 466 (N.C. Ct. App. 1984).

27 Double Diamond Constr. v. Farmers Coop. Elevator Ass’n, 656 N.W.2d 744 (S.D. 2003).

28 Connerton, Ray & Simon v. Simon, 791 A.2d 86 (D.C. 2002) (per curiam).

29 Wages v. Smith Barney Harris Upham & Co., 937 P.2d 715 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1997).

30 Fazio v. Employers’ Liab. Assur. Corp., 197 N.E.2d 598 (Mass. 1964); Bernard v. Hemisphere Hotel Mgmt., Inc., 450 N.E.2d
1084 (Mass. App. Ct. 1983).

31 Boyle v. Thomas, No. 02A01-9601-CV-00022, 1997 Tenn. App. LEXIS 807, 1997 WL 710912 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 17, 1997).

32 Hicks v. UBS Fin. Servs., No. 20080950-CA, 2010 Utah App. LEXIS 20, 2010 WL 375564 (Utah Ct. App. Feb. 4, 2010).

33 Kowler Assocs. v. Ross, 544 N.W.2d 800 (Minn. Ct. App. 1996) (dismissing appeal); Safeco Ins. Co. v. Goldenberg, 435 N.W.
2d 616 (Minn. Ct. App. 1989) (allowing appeal).

34 Crack Team USA, Inc. v. Am. Arbitration Ass'n, 128 S.W.3d 580 (Mo. Ct. App. 2004) (dismissing appeal); Air Shield
Remodelers, Inc. v. Biggs, 969 S.W.2d 315 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998) (allowing appeal); Nat’l Ave. Bldg. Co. v. Stewart, 910 S.W.2d 334
(Mo. Ct. App. 1995) (allowing appeal).

35 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-423 (“An appeal may be taken from an order confirming, vacating, modifying or correcting an award, or
from a judgment or decree upon an award, as in ordinary civil actions.”); La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:4215 (“An appeal may be taken
from an order confirming, modifying, correcting, or vacating an award, or from a judgment entered upon an award, as from an
order or judgment in an action.”); N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 542:10 (“An appeal may be taken from an order confirming, modifying,
correcting, or vacating an award, or from a judgment entered upon an award as in the case of appeals from the superior to the
supreme court.”); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2711.15 (“An appeal may be taken from an order confirming, modifying, correcting, or
vacating an award made in an arbitration proceeding or from judgment entered upon an award.”); R.I. Gen. Laws § 10-3-19 (“Any
party aggrieved by any ruling or order made in any court proceeding as authorized in this chapter may obtain review as in any civil
action, [including] an order confirming, modifying or vacating an award . . . .”); Wis. Stat. § 788.15 (“An appeal may be taken from
an order confirming, modifying, correcting or vacating an award, or from a judgment entered upon an award, as from an order or
judgment in an action.”).

36 Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Ass’n v. Cleveland, 668 N.E.2d 548 (Ohio Ct. App. 1995) (allowing appeal when trial court
ordered re-arbitration of the only claim made, distinguishing Stewart v. Midwestern Indem. Co., 543 N.E.2d 1200 (Ohio 1989)
(disallowing appeal when trial court remanded for panel to complete arbitration by considering claim not previously decided)).

37 Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-2B-08 (appeals from international commercial arbitrations); Mich. Comp. Laws §
600.5082 (appeals from arbitrations in domestic relations cases).

38 Ala. Code § 6-6-15 (“Either party may appeal from an award . . . . as in other cases.”); Ga. Code Ann. § 9-9-16 (“Any judgment
or any order considered a final judgment under this part may be appealed . . . .”); 710 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/18 (“Appeals may be
taken in the same manner, upon the same terms, and with like effect as in civil cases.”).

39 Jenks v. Harris, 990 So. 2d 878 (Ala. 2008).

40 Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 171.003.

41 Thrivent Fin. for Lutherans v. Brock, 251 S.W.3d 621 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2007, no pet.); Stolhandske v. Stern, 14 S.
W.3d 810, 815 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2000, pet. denied); Prudential Sec., Inc. v. Vondergoltz, 14 S.W.3d 329 (Tex. App.–
Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, no pet.).