United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider and Brief
in Support [Doc. No. 11], which seeks relief from the Order
of November 17, 2017 [Doc. No. 10], compelling arbitration.
Defendants timely responded in opposition [Doc. No. 12], and
Plaintiffs filed a reply [Doc. No. 13]. The matter is fully
briefed and at issue.
purchased a 2008 Cadillac STS-V from David Stanley Chevrolet.
[Doc. No. 1-1 at ¶ 5]. As part of the purchase,
Plaintiffs signed a Purchase Agreement, which contained a
Dispute Resolution Clause. [Doc. No. 3-1]. The Dispute
Resolution Clause, which Plaintiffs separately signed,
appeared in red typeface on the front of the Purchase
Agreement. See Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 1
[Doc. No. 3-1 at 1]. The Dispute Resolution Clause provided
that “any controversy, claim or dispute” between
the parties “arising out of, or related, to this sale
or transaction” be submitted to binding arbitration.
[Doc. No. 3-1 at 1]. Plaintiffs allege that about one month
after the sale, David Stanley Chevrolet demanded an
additional payment of $1, 500.00. [Doc. No. 1-1 at ¶
13]. Plaintiffs also allege that David Stanley Chevrolet
failed to pay off the loan on the trade-in vehicle and sold
it to a third party. [Doc. No. 1-1 at ¶ 16]. Compass
Bank allegedly repossessed the trade-in vehicle, sold it and
demanded Plaintiffs pay the deficiency balance. [Doc. No. 1-1
at ¶ 21].
commenced this action in the District Court of Oklahoma
County on February 1, 2017. [Doc. No. 1-1]. Defendants
removed this action to federal court [Doc. No. 1] and moved
the Court to enter an order compelling arbitration [Doc. No.
3]. Plaintiffs filed a response in opposition [Doc. No. 8],
and Defendants replied [Doc. No. 9]. On November 17, 2017,
the Court entered an Order compelling arbitration and
administratively closed the case pending the outcome of the
arbitration proceedings. [Doc. No. 10]. Plaintiffs now ask
the Court to revisit its ruling. Specifically, Plaintiffs
assert that the Court should have conducted an evidentiary
hearing to determine whether Plaintiffs were fraudulently
induced into signing the arbitration clause.
Court finds that Rule 59(e) governs its decision because
Plaintiffs' motion was filed within 28 days after the
judgment was entered. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e).
Relief under Rule 59(e) may be warranted (1) when there has
been a change in the controlling law, (2) when there is new
evidence that was previously unavailable, or (3) when
necessary to correct clear error or prevent manifest
injustice. See Somerlott v. Cherokee Nation Distrib.,
Inc., 686 F.3d 1144, 1153 (10th Cir. 2012);
see also Barber ex rel. Barber v. Colo. Dep't of
Revenue, 562 F.3d 1222, 1228 (10th Cir. 2009)
(Rule 59(e) relief is appropriate where “the court has
misapprehended the facts, a party's position, or the
controlling law.”). It is not an appropriate use of
such a motion “to revisit issues already addressed or
advance arguments that could have been raised in prior
briefing.” Servants of the Paraclete v. John
Does, I-XVI, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir.
assert that the Court erred in not conducting an evidentiary
hearing. Plaintiffs, however, do not challenge the
Court's other findings in its November 17, 2017 Order
compelling arbitration [Doc. No. 10]. Similar to the summary
judgment standard, “[w]hen parties do not dispute the
material facts surrounding an arbitration provision, then a
district court, while viewing the facts most favorable to the
non-moving party, can decide as a matter of law whether the
parties actually agreed to arbitrate.” Ragab v.
Howard, 841 F.3d 1134, 1139 (10th Cir. 2016).
Only when there is a genuine dispute of material facts must
the trial court proceed summarily to trial to resolve the
factual disputes. Id. (citing to 9 U.S.C.
the moving party is required to present evidence sufficient
to demonstrate the existence of an arbitration agreement.
Once that showing has been made, the party opposing
arbitration must demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact
as to the making of the arbitration agreement. See e.g.,
Avedon Engineering, Inc. v. Seatex, 126 F.3d 1279, 1283
(10th Cir. 1997). When it is apparent that no
material disputes of fact exist, “it may be permissible
and efficient for a district court to decide the arbitration
question as a matter of law through motions practice and
viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the party
opposing arbitration.” Howard v. Ferrellgas
Partners, L.P., 748 F.3d 975, 978 (10thCir.
presented evidence sufficient to demonstrate the existence of
an arbitration agreement. Accordingly, the burden shifted to
Plaintiffs to raise a genuine issue as to the making of the
agreement, using evidence comparable to the evidence
identified in Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. In concluding that Plaintiffs
had failed to assert any facts to support their assertion
that they were fraudulently induced into signing the Dispute
Resolution Clause, the Court reviewed Ms. Brown's
affidavit [Doc. No. 8-2] and the parties' other
submissions. [Doc. No. 10 at 15-16]. An evidentiary hearing
would not change this outcome.
undisputed that Plaintiffs signed all three documents - the
Purchase Agreement, the Spot Delivery Agreement and the
Retail Installment Sale Contract - on the same day as part of
one transaction. The Purchase Agreement contained the
separately executed Dispute Resolution Clause, which appeared
conspicuously on the front of the document in red typeface.
Plaintiffs did not assert a claim for rescission of the
arbitration agreement or raise any allegations in the
Petition challenging the validity or enforceability of the
arbitration clause. [Doc. No. 1-1]. Moreover, Plaintiffs
admitted that the Dispute Resolution Clause in the Purchase
Agreement provided for binding arbitration pursuant to the
FAA. See Pls.' Resp. at ¶ 3 [Doc. No. 8].
Dispute Resolution Clause was clearly visible to Plaintiffs
on the front of the Purchase Agreement in red
typeface. Although they may not have chosen to read
the clause, Plaintiffs signed it. The agent's statements
concerning the main purpose of the Purchase Agreement were
generally accurate and did not give rise to any duty to speak
regarding the arbitration clause.
evidentiary hearing was simply not required as a predicate to
this Court compelling arbitration. See Moses H. Cone
Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 29
(1983) (approving appeals court's sua sponte
determination that the underlying dispute was arbitrable,
thus effectively entering a Section 4 order compelling
arbitration, where appeals court had in the record full
briefs and evidentiary submissions ...