Saturday, April 26, 2008
In Re MHI Partnership, Ltd. (Tex.App.- Houston Apr. 23, 2008)
Homeowners required to arbitrate claims against builder. In this original proceeding, relator MHI Partnership, Ltd. seeks a writ of mandamus directing the presiding judge of the 11th District Court of Harris County, Texas, to vacate an order denying MHI's motion to compel arbitration. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals, in an opinion written by one of its newest members, Hon. Bill Boyce, conditionally grants the writ. In Re MHI Partnership, Ltd., No. 14-07-00851-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] April 23, 2008) (homeowners compelled to arbitrate contamination claims against builder) Appellate Court: Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston, TX ---> See more April 2008 Opinions Appellate Panel's Opinion by Justice William Boyce Panel composition: Chief Justice Adele Hedges, Justice John Anderson, and Justice Bill Boyce Full style: In Re: MHI Partnership, LTD.Appeal from 11th District Court of Harris County Trial Court Judge: Hon. Mark Davidson Disposition: Writ of Mandamus Compelling Arbitration Conditionally Granted Links: Houston arbitration case law Houston Texas construction case law homeowner cases From the opinion: Homeowners have not established that the arbitration agreements are so burdensome as to render them substantively unconscionable. Unconscionability of the Arbitration Agreements as a Whole The homeowners argue the cumulative effect of the provisions in the arbitration agreements renders the agreements unconscionable. Texas courts must consider the arbitration agreement as a whole. In re Luna 175 S.W.3d at 328; see also Pony Express Courier Corp. v. Morris, 921 S.W.2d 817, 822 (Tex. App.- San Antonio 1996, no pet.) (per curiam) (trial court abused its discretion by determining unconscionability without sufficient facts before the court to determining if agreement was unconscionable as a whole). Because we already have rejected the homeowners' arguments, we cannot say the arbitration agreements are unconscionable as a whole. Conclusion We hold the trial court abused its discretion in denying MHI's motion to compel arbitration. We therefore conditionally grant the petition for a writ of mandamus, and direct the trial court vacate its order denying MHI's motion to compel arbitration. The writ will issue only if the trial court fails to act in accordance with this opinion.