In Panhandle Fire Protection v. Batson-Cook Co., a general contractor sought to arbitrate a dispute with its subcontractor; however, there was a legitimate dispute as to whether the parties’ final agreement had encompassed an arbitration agreement. The GC claimed that the parties had agreed to arbitrate any disputes in Atlanta, while the subcontractor claimed that the final agreement did not require arbitration in Georgia. During the arbitration proceedings, the subcontractor sent several letters to the arbitrator denying the existence of an arbitration clause and refusing to participate. Ultimately, the arbitrator found for the GC and a trial court issued a final judgment confirming the arbitration award. Upon appeal, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, finding that the trial court should have conducted an independent (de novo) examination of whether the parties had agreed to arbitrate any disputes. Specifically, the Court of Appeals held that without “clear and unmistakable evidence” that the parties had an agreement to arbitrate, a trial court must “independently determine whether the parties contractually agreed to the arbitration” prior to affirming an arbitration award. Additionally, the Court of Appeals refused to find that the subcontractor’s letters to the arbitrator objecting to arbitration constituted consent to arbitrate. This case was returned to the trial court for an independent determination of whether the parties mutually assented to the arbitration agreement. 653 S.E.2d 802 (Ga. App. 2007).