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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This original proceeding arises from a suit filed against Washington Mutual Finance LP and David Gonzalez (collectively, Washington Mutual) and other defendants by Ignacio and Gloria Garcia and Carlos and Esmeralda Flores, in which the plaintiffs allege that they were fraudulently induced into obtaining loans from Washington Mutual. In response to the suit, Washington Mutual filed a motion to compel arbitration based on arbitration agreements signed by the plaintiffs at the time of their loans. The motion was denied and Washington Mutual filed a petition for writ of mandamus, seeking to compel the trial judge to vacate his order denying Washington Mutual’s motion to compel arbitration, to order arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act, and to stay the underlying proceedings. HOLDING:The court instructs the trial court to vacate its order denying Washington Mutual’s motion to compel arbitration, and conditionally issues a writ of mandamus in the event the trial court does not comply with the court’s opinion. Plaintiffs conceded the existence of the arbitration agreements but contended that arbitration could not be compelled because there was unequal bargaining strength between Washington Mutual and the plaintiffs; Washington Mutual did not explain the arbitration agreements to the plaintiffs; and the plaintiffs did not understand the arbitration agreements because their reading fluency and comprehension was at an elementary school or junior high level. Plaintiffs argue that the trial court needed to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine disputed fact issues related to their defense. They maintained throughout their motion to supplement and for an evidentiary hearing that, if the trial court supplemented the record with their affidavits, the affidavits would succeed only in raising issues of material fact, which would require the court to conduct an evidentiary hearing. The trial court never held such an evidentiary hearing and never admitted any of the plaintiffs’ evidence. The court holds that the trial court therefore had no basis to sustain the plaintiffs’ defense to arbitration. The court concludes that the trial court abused its discretion by sustaining the plaintiffs’ defense to Washington Mutual’s motion to compel arbitration. Accordingly, the court conditionally issues a writ of mandamus compelling the trial court to vacate its order denying Washington Mutual’s motion to compel arbitration and instructs the trial court to conduct an evidentiary hearing on any disputed issues of material fact related to the plaintiffs’ defense to arbitration. OPINION:Garza, J.; Rodriguez, Castillo, and Garza, JJ.

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