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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Real parties in interest Burl Fuller, Danny Alexander and Billy York are former employees of Champion Technologies. They filed a wrongful termination action against Champion and Permian Mud Service on June 12, 2004. Relators filed a motion to compel arbitration on Oct. 14, 2004, alleging that the claims were subject to a written arbitration agreement. The relevant documents refer to the arbitration agreement at issue as the Champion Technologies Dispute Resolution Program (program). The trial court initially deferred ruling on the motion to compel arbitration until after the completion of discovery. Relators filed a previous mandamus proceeding in this court and a writ was conditionally granted directing the trial court to rule on the motion. The second mandamus proceeding arose from the trial court’s order entered in compliance with the 11th Court of Appeals’ previous directive. The trial court detailed its basis for denying relators’ motion to compel arbitration in a lengthy written order. The trial court concluded that the program was unenforceable on the basis that it constituted an illusory contract. The trial court also determined that one of the claims asserted by York was not covered by the scope of the program. Relators attack these determinations in two issues. HOLDING:The court conditionally granted the writ of mandamus in part and denied it in part. In their first issue, the court stated, relators asserted that the trial court abused its discretion by determining that the program was illusory. The court concluded that Champion did not have the contractual right to amend or terminate the program itself or the rules governing arbitration of claims after an arbitration is initiated under the program with respect to a dispute involving former employees. Thus, the clause was not illusory, the court stated by way of analogy to a similar Texas Supreme Court case. The court also noted that the omission of former employees from the class of persons to be notified of changes does not render the program illusory; and that Champion cannot avoid its promise to arbitrate by amending the rules because the rules of the American Arbitration Association would nullify the offending amendments. The court concluded that the trial court’s interpretation of the program’s amendment and termination sections was erroneous because Champion could not have avoided its promise to arbitrate the claims asserted by the real parties in interest. The court also concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the Billy York’s tortious interference claim against relators falls outside of the scope of the program. The trial court was directed to vacate its previous order and to enter a new order compelling arbitration of the remaining claims. OPINION:McCall, J.; Wright, C.J., and McCall and Strange, J.J.

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