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In re George Helle, III

In a lawsuit for breach of an oral partnership agreement, the Texas trial court compelled arbitration even though there was no written arbitration agreement. Previous Texas Supreme Court precedent has almost entirely eliminated appellate review of orders compelling arbitration—including review by mandamus procedures. Public Citizen filed an amicus brief with Public Justice supporting petitioner’s argument that the Texas Supreme Court should permit mandamus review in Texas appellate courts of orders compelling arbitration at least where there is no written and signed arbitration agreement. Public Citizen’s brief argued that review of such cases is necessary because, where the parties have not agreed in writing to arbitrate, an order compelling arbitration violates the Federal Arbitration Act, the Texas Arbitration Act, and the right to a jury trial under the Texas Constitution. The Texas Supreme Court denied the petition.