Interlocutory Appeal of Court Appointment of Arbitrator
In a case of first impression, the Texas Supreme Court held that Section 51.016 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, added to the Code in 2009, does not allow an interlocutory appeal of an order appointing an arbitrator. However, the interlocutory appeal should have been considered as a petition for a writ of mandamus since the appellant requested this of the appeals court when it sought appellate review.
CMH Homes and Adam Perez agreed to arbitrate Perez’s consumer claims but could not agree on an arbitrator. Because of this disagreement, the trial judge intervened and appointed an arbitrator to preside over the dispute. CMH Homes filed an interlocutory appeal challenging this appointment, and though it did not file a separate mandamus petition, it asked the court of appeals in the alternative to consider its appeal as a mandamus proceeding.
The Texas Court of Appeals ruled that it had no jurisdiction under Section 51.016 to hear this appeal. This section provides that a party may appeal a judgment or interlocutory order “under the same circumstances that an appeal from a federal district court’s order or decision would be permitted by 9 U.S.C. Section 16.” Accordingly, the court of appeals dismissed the appeal.