IN THE SUPREME COURT OF
In re Olga Palacios, Relator
On Petition for Writ of Mandamus
Olga Palacios filed suit against several individuals and companies when her
attempt to buy a duplex in
At the hearing on the motion to compel arbitration, Mortgages Direct offered the arbitration contract purportedly signed by Palacios. The latter’s attorney objected to the document’s authenticity, but withdrew the objection when the trial court offered to postpone the hearing until it could be proved up. Palacios then took the stand and testified through an interpreter that the signature on the agreement was not hers. Apparently unconvinced, the trial court granted the motion and abated the underlying case until arbitration was concluded.
arbitration agreement does not indicate whether it is governed by the Federal
or Texas Arbitration Act, and neither do the parties. But as Palacios pleaded
that she gave her realtor a power of attorney to purchase the duplex while she
have held recently and repeatedly that an order denying arbitration under the
FAA is reviewable by mandamus. See, e.g., In re Weekley Homes, L.P., 180 S.W.3d 127, 130 (
need not decide today whether mandamus review of an order staying a case for
arbitration is entirely precluded. Even after Green Tree, the Fifth
Circuit has held that federal mandamus review of an order staying a case for
arbitration may still be available if a party can meet a “particularly heavy”
mandamus burden to show “clearly and indisputably that the district court did
not have the discretion to stay the proceedings pending arbitration.” Apache Bohai Corp., LDC v. Texaco
Palacios has not met such a burden here. While she denied signing the arbitration agreement, she admitted signing several papers she could not read because they were in English. She submitted no other exemplars of her signature for the court to review. Thus, her testimony presented a credibility issue, which she has not shown the trial judge indisputably got wrong.
recognize there is some one-sidedness in reviewing only orders that deny
arbitration, but not orders that compel it. Yet both the Federal and
Accordingly, we deny the petition for mandamus.
OPINION DELIVERED: June 30, 2006