Ragab v Howard

Howard and two corporate defendants appealed the denial of their motions to compel arbitration. The panel, 2-1, affirmed. The majority held that because all six of the various contract between Ragab and the defendants had arbitration clauses and those clauses were inconsistent as to the rules applicable to the arbitration, when arbitration had to be initiated and who bore the responsibility for fees, there was no meeting of the minds as to arbitration and thus no agreement to arbitrate. It held that because there is no dispute as to the facts here only the legal significance the facts, there was no need to for a summary trial on the motion. The dissent argued that Rageb entered into the six agreements to arbitrate and even had his attorney draft three of them thereby manifesting an intone to arbitrate, that both Colorado and federal law favor arbitration and holding that Ragab can choose the procedure or applying Colorado’s statutory default rules would give effect to the essential agreement to arbitrate and not let Ragab or future litigants escape the consequences of their choice to sign contracts with arbitration clauses.