Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Agree to arbitrate ---> waive right to trial by jury (or to the bench, for that matter)

   
ARBITRATION AGREEMENT ENTAILS WAIVER OF RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY 
  
When a party agrees to have a dispute resolved through arbitration rather than a judicial proceeding, that party has waived its right to a jury trial. Massey v. Galvan, 822 S.W.2d 309, 318 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, writ denied) (holding appellants could not claim they were entitled to jury trial after they submitted to arbitration and arbitrators made an award appellants felt was in error).
  
CONTRACT CONSTRUCTION PRINCIPLES APPLY TO INTERPRETATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS
   
We interpret arbitration agreements under traditional contract principles. J.M. Davidson, Inc. v. Webster, 128 S.W.3d 223, 227 (Tex. 2003). We examine and consider the entire writing in an effort to harmonize potential conflicts between differing provisions and give effect to all the provisions of the contract so that none will be rendered meaningless. MCI Telecomms. Corp. v. Texas Utils. Elec. Co., 995 S.W.2d 647, 652 (Tex. 1999); In re Premont Indep. Sch. Dist., 225 S.W.3d 329, 333 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2007, orig. proceeding). No single provision taken alone will be given controlling effect. In re Premont Indep. Sch. Dist., 225 S.W.3d at 333.
   
If a written contract is so worded that it can be given a certain or definite legal meaning or interpretation, then it is not ambiguous and the court will construe the contract as a matter of law. Coker v. Coker, 650 S.W.2d 391, 393 (Tex. 1983). When a contract is not ambiguous, the contract should be enforced as written. Lopez v. Munoz, Hockema & Reed, L.L.P., 22 S.W.3d 857, 862 (Tex. 2000)
  
SOURCE: SAN ANTONIO COURT OF APPEALS - 04-11-00097-CV - 10/12/11 

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