No Interlocutory Appeal of Order Deferring Decision on Motion to Compel Arbitration

Builders FirstSource, Inc. v. White
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-22-00724-CV (March 29, 2023)
Chief Justice Burns (Opinion, linked here) and Justices Molberg and Goldstein
Builders moved to stay White’s lawsuit against it and to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. White responded with a motion for a jury trial on the threshold issue of arbitrability. When the trial court denied Builders’ motion and granted White’s, Builders filed an interlocutory appeal under FAA §§ 16(a)(1)(A) & (B). But the Dallas Court of Appeals dismissed for want of jurisdiction. The Court acknowledged that an order denying a motion to stay and for arbitration ordinarily is appealable under the FAA and Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 51.016. But the trial court’s order here “simultaneously granted White’s motion for a jury trial on arbitrability.” Consequently, the Court explained, “the order can only reasonably be construed as deferring a final ruling on whether to grant arbitration.” Citing decisions from several other Texas Courts of Appeals, the Dallas Court then held that an order deferring decision on the motion to compel, as opposed to “a definitive ruling on Builders’ motion to stay litigation and compel arbitration” is interlocutory and not appealable.
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