JESUS GREGORIO LOPEZ v. JORGE AMADO LOPEZ; from Brooks County;
4th district (04-08-00178-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 03-11-09, pet. denied July 2009)
(arbitration award confirmed, challenge rejected)
Jesus Gregorio "Goyo" LOPEZ,
Jorge Amado LOPEZ,
From the 79th Judicial District Court, Brooks County, Texas
Trial Court No. 03-12-12138-CV
Honorable Richard C. Terrell, Judge Presiding
Opinion by: Steven C. Hilbig, Justice
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice
Rebecca Simmons, Justice
Steven C. Hilbig, Justice
Delivered and Filed: March 11, 2009
Jesus Gregorio "Goyo" Lopez appeals the judgment confirming an arbitration award, arguing the trial court
impermissibly modified the award. We disagree and affirm the judgment.
Brothers Jorge Amado Lopez ("Jorge") and Jesus Gregorio Lopez ("Goyo") entered into what the arbitrator
termed "a rather loose business arrangement" to operate a hunting camp. After the relationship soured, Jorge
sued Goyo, alleging Goyo had breached their partnership agreement and breached his fiduciary duties. Jorge
sought injunctive relief, dissolution of the alleged partnership, and repayment of funds he allegedly loaned the
partnership. In his counterclaim, Goyo alleged the brothers entered into a written contract for the sale of real
property, pursuant to which Goyo was to convey to Jorge an 8.477 acre tract of land and a .012500 royalty
interest in another tract. In exchange, Jorge would pay Goyo $95,000 in two installments. Goyo alleged Jorge
did not make the promised payments. He further alleged that as a result of Jorge's fraud, Goyo "unwittingly"
conveyed both property interests to Jorge in a warranty deed dated August 2002, which Jorge subsequently
recorded. Goyo alleged fraud and breach of contract and sought cancellation or rescission of the deed.
Alternatively, Goyo claimed he had obtained title by adverse possession and prayed for a declaration of title
and removal of the cloud on his title. In addition, Goyo alleged Jorge converted his personal property. It
appears Jorge denied signing the contract for sale of real property and contended the orally agreed price for
the properties was only $91,000.
More than three years after the suit was filed, the brothers agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration.
The arbitrator rendered a written decision, stating it was intended to be a full and final settlement of all the
claims submitted. In reaching his decision, the arbitrator stated he considered the cash and in-kind
contributions made by each of the brothers, "the missing personal property, camp maintenance, or lack
thereof, the condition of the camp when possession changed hands and improvements made, as well as the
other allegations made by the parties against each other." The arbitrator awarded "[t]he camp in question
situated on 8.477 acres of land, more or less, . . . along with all improvements situated thereon" to Jorge. He
found "the total purchase price for the 8.477 acres plus improvements" to be $91,000. Finally, he gave Jorge
credit in the amount of $62,550 toward the purchase price, and awarded the balance of $28,450 to Goyo.
Neither party asked the arbitrator to modify, correct, or clarify the award. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
Ann. § 171.054 (Vernon 2005).
On November 1, 2007, the trial court rendered a judgment that recited the arbitrator's findings and awarded a
judgment in favor of Goyo and against Jorge in the amount of $28,450. In addition, the judgment states:
The camp in question situated on 8.477 acres of land, more or less, and the mineral interest in Zapata County,
will be awarded in favor of Plaintiff, JORGE AMADO LOPEZ, and against Defendant , JESUS GREGORIO
Goyo filed a post-judgment motion in which he argued the trial court acted without authority in awarding the
mineral interest to Jorge. After a hearing, the motion was denied, and Goyo appealed.
Neither party offered grounds to the trial court for vacating, modifying, or correcting the arbitration award. The
trial court therefore was required to confirm it. Id. § 171.087. We review the trial court's judgment confirming
the award de novo. GJR Mgmt. Holdings, L.P. v. Jack Raus, Ltd., 126 S.W.3d 257, 262 (Tex. App.--San
Antonio 2003, pet. denied). Goyo contends that because the arbitrator did not mention the mineral interest in
his award and did not award it to Jorge, the judgment erroneously granted Jorge more relief than awarded by
When the suit was filed, Jorge held record title to both the 8.477 acre tract and the mineral interest by virtue of
the August 2002 warranty deed. Among the matters submitted for arbitration were Goyo's claims that the deed
should be revoked or rescinded because of Jorge's alleged breach of contract and fraud and that he had
acquired title by adverse possession. (1) The arbitrator did not cancel or rescind the deed in the arbitration
award, nor did he find Goyo acquired title by adverse possession. By failing to do so and by stating the camp
was awarded to Jorge and fixing the amount of the purchase price Jorge owes to Goyo, the arbitrator impliedly
rejected Goyo's claims regarding both property interests. See Aspri Inv., L.L.C. v. Afeef, No. 04-07-00249-CV,
2008 WL 441802, at *2 (Tex. App.--San Antonio, Feb. 20, 2008, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (recognizing implied
ruling in arbitration award). By failing to revoke or cancel the deed, the arbitrator denied Goyo the relief he
requested and necessarily left title to both properties in Jorge. Accordingly, the award of the mineral interest to
Jorge in the judgment conformed to the arbitrator's award.
The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
Steven C. Hilbig, Justice
1. At the post-judgment hearing in the trial court, Goyo conceded that his claims regarding the mineral interest
were submitted to the arbitrator.