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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Relators, Champion Technologies Inc. and Permian Mud Services Inc., filed a petition for writ of mandamus on May 27, 2005, attacking the trial court’s disposition of their motion to compel arbitration. HOLDING:Conditionally granted. Relators raise two issues in seeking mandamus relief. They first assert that the trial court abused its discretion by not ruling on their motion to compel arbitration until after the completion of discovery. In their second issue, relators contend that the trial court abused its discretion in denying their motion to stay discovery pending arbitration. There are conflicting opinions from the Houston 1st and Corpus Christi 13th courts of appeals relating to the trial court’s decision to defer ruling on the motion to compel arbitration until after the completion of discovery. In C P & Associates v. Pickett, 697 S.W.2d 828 (Tex.App. – Corpus Christi 1985, no writ), the court of appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to stay arbitration proceedings until the completion of discovery. In In Re: MHI Partnership Ltd., 7 S.W.3d 918 (Tex.App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, orig. proceeding), the court of appeals directed the trial court to vacate its order deferring a ruling on a motion to compel arbitration pending completion of discovery. Accordingly, the holding in Pickett appears to support the action taken by the trial court whereas the decision in MHI supports relators’ position. The court concludes that the holding in MHI is the correct statement of the law in this regard. “We agree with the First Court of Appeals’s determination in MHI that delaying a decision on a motion to compel arbitration until after discovery is completed defeats the goal of resolving arbitration issues promptly. We also agree that the trial court lacks discretion to defer ruling on a motion to compel arbitration until the completion of all discovery in the case because doing so forces the parties to litigate their dispute in the trial court even though it may ultimately be determined that all or some of the claims are subject to arbitration. We note in this regard that the arbitration provision at issue in this case explicitly provides that”[t]he arbitrator shall have discretion to determine the form, amount and frequency of discovery by the Parties.’ Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion by deferring its ruling on the motion to compel arbitration until after the completion of discovery in the case.” As to the second issue, the relators ask the court to enter an order referring the litigation to arbitration and to stay all discovery pending arbitration. The arbitration issue is not ripe for consideration because the trial court has not made a ruling on the merits of the motion to compel arbitration. OPINION:McCall, J.; Wright and McCall, JJ.

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