FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23CV-15-2]
HONORABLE MIKE MURPHY, JUDGE AFFIRMED
& Gillham, P.L.L.C., by: Luther Oneal Sutter and Luther
Sutter, for appellant.
Calhoun Law Firm, by: Joe D. Calhoun, for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Helton appeals the Faulkner County Circuit Court order
denying his motion to dismiss and to set aside a judgment
confirming an arbitration award in favor of Joseph D.
Calhoun, LTD (Calhoun). On appeal, Helton argues that the
circuit court erred in confirming the award because (1) he
did not receive a proper summons of the petition; (2) the
Arkansas Arbitration Act (AAA) is unconstitutional; (3) he
did not enter into a valid agreement to arbitrate; and (4)
Faulkner County was an improper venue for the petition. We
retained Calhoun to represent him in an infringement lawsuit.
Their fee agreement provided that
[a]ny fee dispute or other controversy arising out of or
relating to this engagement must be resolved by the
first-initiated binding arbitration (by ADR, Inc., and its
rules) or court proceeding administered in Little Rock; and
judgment upon any arbitration award may be enforced in any
court having jurisdiction.
the infringement lawsuit had concluded, Helton refused to pay
Calhoun, and Calhoun filed an arbitration complaint with ADR,
Inc., in Little Rock, alleging that Helton owed him more than
$30, 000 in attorney's fees. On November 13, 2013, the
arbitrator served Helton with Calhoun's arbitration
complaint and provided notice that a response must be
submitted by December 16, 2013.
December 13, 2013, Helton submitted a response by fax. In the
response, Helton disagreed with the fee amount he owed to
Calhoun. On March 17, 2014, the arbitrator mailed Helton a
letter notifying him of an April 1, 2014 hearing. On March
31, 2014, Calhoun initiated a conference call with Helton and
the arbitrator. In the call, Helton denied receiving notice
of the April hearing date and informed the arbitrator that he
did not intend to attend the hearing. The arbitration hearing
occurred on April 1, 2014. On October 3, 2014, the arbitrator
entered a judgment awarding Calhoun $43, 278.82 in
attorney's fees with interest, as well as costs and
expenses to be incurred in collecting the judgment. The
arbitrator sent Helton a copy of the judgment the same day.
January 5, 2015, Calhoun filed a petition for registration of
a foreign judgment in the Faulkner County Circuit Court.
Calhoun informed the court of the arbitration award and asked
the court to register the judgment. On that same day, the
Faulkner County Circuit Clerk sent Helton notice of the
petition by certified mail along with a copy of the
arbitration award. In the January 5, 2015 letter, the clerk
incorrectly referenced the arbitration judgment as a judgment
from the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Therefore, on January
8, 2015, the clerk sent Helton by certified mail a corrected
letter stating that an arbitration award from ADR, Inc., in
Pulaski County had been filed in the Faulkner County Circuit
Court. The court set a hearing date for March 3, 2015. On
February 3, 2015, Calhoun sent notice of the hearing date to
Helton by regular mail.
did not appear at the March 3 hearing, and the court orally
noted that Helton had been notified of the proceedings by
both regular mail and certified mail. On the same day as the
hearing, the circuit court entered an order confirming the
arbitration award. On March 9, 2015, Calhoun served Helton
with the confirmation order by certified mail.
27, 2015, Helton filed a motion to dismiss and to set aside
the arbitration judgment. In the motion, he argued that the
court should set aside its confirmation of the judgment
because (1) he did not receive a proper summons along with
the petition; (2) the AAA is unconstitutional; (3) he did not
enter into a valid agreement to arbitrate; and (4) Faulkner
County was an improper venue for the petition. Following a
hearing, on March 28, 2016, the court entered an order
denying Helton's motion to dismiss and ordering him to
provide Calhoun with a verified schedule of all his real and
personal property. Helton timely appealed the order to this
appeal, Helton first argues that the circuit court erred in
confirming the award because he did not receive a summons
along with Calhoun's petition. He claims that section 205
of the AAA applies to the petition and that section 205(b)
requires a summons pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Civil
Procedure 4. We need not decide whether section 205 applies
to the instant petition because section 205 does not require
a summons. Section 205 provides that "notice of an
initial motion to the court under this subchapter must be
served in the manner provided by law for the
service of a summons in a civil action." Ark.
Code Ann. § 16-108-205(b)(Repl. 2016)(emphasis
claims that if the AAA does not require a summons, the AAA
violates his procedural due-process rights. He cites caselaw
that holds that strict compliance with the Rule 4
requirements for a summons is necessary to satisfy
due-process requirements. See, e.g., Thompson v.
Potlatch Corp., 326 Ark. 244, 930 S.W.2d 355 (1996).
However, Helton has failed to cite any authority that a Rule
4 summons applies to a petition for confirmation of an
arbitration award, and his constitutional argument is
undeveloped. We will not reverse when a point on appeal is
unsupported by convincing arguments or sufficient citation to
legal authority. Ressler v. State, 2017 Ark.App.
208, 518 S.W.3d 690. We further note that this court has
stated that "[a]rbitration . . . is a form of
alternative dispute resolution outside of conventional
litigation." Keahey v. Plumlee, 94 Ark.App.
121, 226 S.W.3d 31 (2006) (holding that Ark. Code Ann. §
17-42-107(b)(Supp. 2005), which states that no executive or
associate broker may sue for commission unless the action is
against the principal broker, did not prevent appellant from
filing a petition to confirm an arbitration award against a
nonprincipal broker) (citing Edward Dauer, Manual of
Dispute Resolution § 5.02 (1994)). "[T]he
confirmation of an arbitration award is a continuation of the
arbitration process rather than a lawsuit in the ordinarily
understood sense." Id. The confirmation of an
arbitration award cannot be likened to filing suit, and it
has been described as a mere summary proceeding whereby the
court converts an arbitration award into a final judgment.