At the outset we note that an order denying a motion to compel arbitration is an immediately appealable order. Ark. R.App. P.-Civ. 2(a)(12); Showmethemoney Check Cashers, Inc. v. Williams, 342 Ark. 112, 27 S.W.3d 361 (2000); Walton v. Lewis, 337 Ark. 45, 987 S.W.2d 262 (1999). We review a trial court's order denying a motion to compel de novo on the record. Id.
First, it argues that this court should apply the provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) to determine https://installmentloansgroup.com/installment-loans-sd/ whether or not there is a valid arbitration agreement in this case, because the underlying transactions involve commerce. Thus, according to E-Z Cash's logic, this court should enforce the arbitration agreement in this case because public policy requires as much.
Harris argues that neither the FAA nor the Arkansas Arbitration Act are applicable here, because the contract at issue is usurious and, therefore, void. Alternatively, Harris argues that there is no enforceable agreement to arbitrate, because the agreement lacks the required element of mutuality. We are unable to reach the merits of Harris's argument regarding the usurious nature of the contract, because she failed to obtain a ruling from the trial court on this argument. Her failure to obtain such a ruling is a procedural bar to our consideration of this issue on appeal. See Barker v. Clark, 343 Ark. 8, 33 S.W.3d 476 (2000).
While we decline to reach the merits of Harris's argument that the contract is usurious, we also disagree with E-Z Cash's assertion that the FAA governs this case. The United States Supreme Court in Southland Corp. v. Keating, 465 U.S. 1, 104 S.Ct. 852, 79 L.Ed.2d 1 (1984), held that the FAA may be applicable in both state and federal courts. Here, though, the arbitration agreement under the heading “Assignment and Choice of Law” specifically states: “We may assign or transfer this Agreement or any of our rights hereunder. This Agreement will be governed by the laws of the State of Arkansas, including without limitation the Arkansas Arbitration Act.” In Volt Info. Sciences, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior Univ., 489 U.S. 468, 109 S.Ct. 1248, 103 L.Ed.2d 488 (1989), the United States Supreme Court held that application of the FAA may be avoided where the parties agree to arbitrate in accordance with state law. Accordingly, Arkansas law, including the Arkansas Uniform Arbitration Act, governs the issue at hand.
E-Z Cash then avers that the FAA declares a strong public policy in favor of arbitration that mandates the enforcement of arbitration agreements
We now turn to the issue of whether there is a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement in this case. E-Z Cash argues that the trial court erred in finding that the arbitration agreement was not an enforceable agreement. First, the court must determine whether there is a valid arbitration agreement. Then, the court must determine if that arbitration agreement covers the dispute between the parties. Harris counters that the arbitration agreement is not enforceable because it is not supported by mutual obligations. In light of this court's recent decision in Showmethemoney, 342 Ark. 112, 27 S.W.3d 361, we agree with Harris that this arbitration agreement is unenforceable.
According to E-Z Cash, a two-part analysis must be utilized to determine whether there was a valid agreement between Harris and E-Z Cash that commits the issue to arbitration
The Arkansas Uniform Arbitration Act, found at Ark.Code Ann. § 16-108-201-224, (1987 and Supp.2001), outlines the scope of arbitration agreements in Arkansas. Section 16-108-201 states:
(a) A written agreement to submit any existing controversy to arbitration arising between the parties bound by the terms of the writing is valid, enforceable, and irrevocable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.