No English fluency? No arbitration defense.

In an uncommon but fundamental challenge to an arbitration agreement, the plaintiff relied upon his inability to understand English. The Fifth Court rejected this challenge under general principles of contract formation:

“It is unusual that MiCocina translated the Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate, summary plan description, and handbook into Spanish, but not the one-page Acknowledgment form. However, on this record, there is no evidence of a fraudulent misrepresentation or trickery that would relieve Balderas of the consequences of failing to read or have read to him a document he voluntarily signed. In light of the obligation an illiterate party has to have a document read to them before they sign it and the lack of evidence of a fraudulent misrepresentation or trickery, we conclude Balderas is bound by his signature on the Acknowledgment. Accordingly, Balderas failed to prove procedural unconscionability and fraudulent inducement.”

MiCocina v. Balderas, No. 05-16-01507-CV (Oct. 27, 2017) (mem. op.) (citations omitted; distinguishing Delfingen US-Texas, LP v. Valenzuela, 407 S.W.3d 791
(Tex. App.—El Paso 2013, no pet.)).T

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