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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Michael Pullara entered into arbitration to resolve a dispute with Becker Fine Builders Inc., a Houston builder, arising out of an agreement for remodeling Pullara’s apartment. The American Arbitration Association arbitrator, Stephen B. Paxson, awarded Becker a total of $97,442.29 against Pullara. Approximately one year later, however, Pullara discovered something Paxson had allegedly not disclosed before being selected as arbitrator � that, for many years, Paxson had acted as general counsel for the Greater Houston Builders Association. Before being selected as arbitrator, Paxson had disclosed his membership in GHBA, but apparently not his representation of that organization. Finding himself beyond the standard 90-day deadline to seek to vacate the award under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �171.088, Pullara did not move to set aside the award. Instead, he sued Paxson and the AAA for damages he alleges were caused by Paxson’s failure to disclose his work as general counsel for the GHBA. Pullara contends Paxson’s alleged failure to disclose the attorney-client relationship with GHBA revealed a bias in Becker’s favor, which Pullara believes was a material fact he was entitled to know when he chose the arbitrators to strike from the AAA’s list. Pullara appeals the trial court’s granting summary judgment against him in favor of the defendants. HOLDING:Affirmed. In Blue Cross Blue Shield v. Juneau, 114 S.W.3d 126 (Tex. App. – Austin 2003, no pet.), the court of appeals affirmed a judgment holding that Blue Cross’ claims were barred by the doctrine of arbitral immunity and dismissing the suit for want of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Juneau court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. After reviewing decisions in other jurisdictions upholding the principle of arbitral immunity, this court decides that arbitrators and their sponsoring organizations are immune from civil liability for bias or the failure to disclose a possible source of bias. The court rejects Pullara’s argument asserting that Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �154.055(a) is evidence the Legislature intended that paid professional arbitrators be subject to civil liability. By its own language, the statute has no effect on the liability or immunity of paid arbitrators. The Texas Supreme Court in Burlington N. R.R. v. TUCO, 960 S.W.2d 629 (Tex. 1997), did not create a cause of action against arbitrators for failing to perform their duty to disclose; it merely examined when particular requirements of the vacatur statute are satisfied. Providing arbitrators with immunity does not relieve them of their duty to disclose and does not conflict with the holding in TUCO, the court states. OPINION:Morriss, C.J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, J.J.

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