Petitioner James Wicker appealed an order dismissing his application to confirm a $2 million arbitration award issued in his favor against respondents Bayview Loan Services LLC and U.S. Bank, N.A. Wicker obtained the award after the respondents failed to respond to his “binding self-executing irrevocable” counteroffer containing certain “scattered and incoherent” references to arbitration. The district court dismissed Wicker’s effort to confirm the award, finding the arbitration was “bogus” and the award was a “farce” absent an agreement to arbitrate. On appeal, Wicker claimed the district court usurped the arbitrator’s authority to interpret the agreement between the parties. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding that Wicker ignored case law establishing that it is for the court, in the first instance, to decide whether the parties agreed to arbitrate. The court also emphasized Wicker’s failure to cite authority that failure to respond to a counteroffer created a contract. As such, the district court’s order was affirmed. Moreover, although Wicker was pro se, finding his appeal was frivolous, the Tenth Circuit granted the respondents’ motion for sanctions and ordered Wicker to pay double appellate costs.
Wicker v. Bayview Loan Services, LLC, No. 19-4169 (10th Cir. Jan. 27, 2021).