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Legoland Discovery Centre (Dallas) LLC v. Superior Builders LLC

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

April 27, 2017

LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTRE (DALLAS), LLC APPELLANT
v.
SUPERIOR BUILDERS, LLC APPELLEE

         FROM THE 342ND DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. 342-275920-14

          PANEL: LIVINGSTON, C.J.; GABRIEL and PITTMAN, JJ.

          OPINION

          LEE GABRIEL JUSTICE.

         Appellant Legoland Discovery Centre (Dallas), LLC appeals from the trial court's interlocutory order denying its motion to compel arbitration. Because appellee Superior Builders, LLC did not meet its heavy burden to show that Legoland waived its right to arbitrate by substantially invoking the judicial process as to Superior's claims raised against Legoland, we reverse the trial court's order and remand for entry of an order compelling arbitration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual

         Legoland hired Superior to be the general contractor for a water-feature addition to Legoland's entertainment center in Grapevine, Texas. The contract, drafted by Superior, included the following arbitration clause:

Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or the breach thereof, shall be settled by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association under its Construction Industry Arbitration Rules, and judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrator(s) may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

         The contract also contained a choice-of-law clause providing that Texas law would govern the contract and a venue clause setting venue regarding "any action other than a lien foreclosure may at [Superior's] option lie in . . . Tarrant County."

         Legoland believed that Superior did not complete the work contracted for and damaged adjacent property. Legoland also began to receive nonpayment notices from several of Superior's subcontractors and suppliers: Sunbelt Rentals; Roofing & Siding Specialists, Inc.; National Wholesale Supply, Inc.; Love Service Company; H&H Pool Decks, Inc.; Chas. F. Williams Co.; and Aeroflow. See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §§ 53.056-.057 (West 2014). Several of these subcontractors filed lien affidavits, seeking payment. See id. § 53.103 (West 2014). Legoland stopped paying Superior, leaving an alleged balance due to Superior of $89, 642.10. See id. § 53.102 (West 2014).

         Legoland notified Superior that it would terminate the contract under its terms unless Superior cured the defaults. Superior failed to cure; therefore, Legoland notified Superior that Legoland had terminated the contract and notified the affected subcontractors of the termination. See id. § 53.107 (West 2014).

         B. Procedural

         Superior filed suit against Legoland on December 11, 2014, raising claims for breach of contract, violation of the Prompt Payment Act, quantum meruit, and promissory estoppel. Superior also requested a declaration that it was entitled to a lien against Legoland's entertainment center and for a judgment "foreclosing on [its] Lien . . . together with an order of sale." Legoland answered and filed counterclaims for breach of contract, negligence, and breach of express warranty based on Superior's alleged faulty work and failure to pay its subcontractors. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 97(a). Legoland included in its counterclaims a request for disclosure. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 194.1, 194.2.

         Superior amended its petition on April 1, 2015, adding as defendants most of the subcontractors identified in Legoland's counterclaims but raising the same claims against Legoland that it raised in its original petition. Superior also included a request for disclosure in its amended petition, which Legoland responded to. On May 13, 2015, Legoland and Superior both signed a letter agreement, reflecting that Superior's ...


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