The plaintiff successfully confirmed an arbitration award concerning certain franchise agreements and then sought attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with its confirmation action based on the attorneys’ fees provision in the franchise agreements. The defendants opposed because the arbitrator had already issued a final award awarding attorneys’ fees and costs in the arbitration.
The franchise agreement provided that if either party instituted arbitration and prevailed against the other party based entirely or in part on the terms of the franchise agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover from the losing party, in addition to any judgment, reasonable attorneys’ fees and arbitration costs. The magistrate judge found that, by its plain terms, the fee provision did not expressly authorize the court to award attorneys’ fees for enforcing an arbitration award.
Furthermore, where an arbitration award includes an award of attorneys’ fees – which it did here – a trial court may not award additional attorneys’ fees for enforcing or appealing the confirmation of the award unless the arbitration agreement provides otherwise.
Stockade Franchising, LP v. Kelly Rest. Grp., LLC, No. 1:18-cv-00918 (W.D. Tex. Oct. 24, 2019).