ORIGINAL PROCEEDING WRIT OF MANDAMUS 165th District Court
Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2017-62696
consists of Justices Busby, Brown, and Jewell.
February 13, 2018, relators William Earle Coffey, Jr., Landon
B. Marino, Travis Lyn Knapp, and Shawn Lewis Walker filed a
petition for writ of mandamus in this court. See
Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 22.221 (West Supp. 2017);
see also Tex. R. App. P. 52. In the petition,
relator asks this court to compel the Honorable Ursula Hall,
presiding judge of the 165th District Court of Harris County,
to rule on relators' motion to confirm an arbitration
Respondent, under the circumstances of this case, has not
ruled the motion within a reasonable time, we conditionally
grant the petition for writ of mandamus.
and Procedural Background
about September 11, 2014, relators commenced an arbitration
action against UBS Financial Services, Inc. ("UBS")
pursuant the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure. Relators
sought relief in the form of an award from an arbitration
panel ordering the expungement of customer complaints against
relators from the public record.
30, 2017, the arbitration panel held final hearings. On July
18, 2017, the panel issued a final award, which recommended
that the customer complaints against relators be expunged
from their records.
filed a motion to confirm the arbitration award and enter
judgment on September 21, 2017. UBS filed a response to the
motion stating it did not oppose confirmation of the award.
November 20, 2017, the motion was submitted to Respondent by
written submission. Relators have made several requests for a
ruling and even requested a hearing on the motion, but were
told by the clerk that no oral hearing would be permitted.
motion is properly filed and pending before a trial court,
the act of giving consideration to and ruling on that motion
is a ministerial act. A trial court has a ministerial duty to
consider and rule on motions properly filed and pending
before it, and mandamus may issue to compel the trial court
to act. In re Henry, 525 S.W.3d 381 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, orig. proceeding); In re
Greater McAllen Star Props., Inc., 444 S.W.3d 743, 748
(Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2014, orig. proceeding). A trial
court is required to rule on a motion within a reasonable
time after the motion has been submitted to the court for a
ruling or a ruling on the motion has been requested. In
re Foster, 503 S.W.3d 606, 607 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th
Dist.] 2016, orig. proceeding). The record must show both
that the motion was filed and the trial court has not ruled
on the motion within a reasonable time after being requested
to do so. Id. at 607.
record shows that relators' motion to confirm the
arbitration award is unopposed and has been pending for more
than four months (since November 20, 2017). Despite several
requests, Respondent has yet to rule. The record shows no
reason for Respondent's delay in ruling on the motion.
Relators claim that Respondent's delay in ruling is
causing them substantial harm because the customer complaints
on their records which the arbitration panel has ordered to
be expunged continue to be made public. We conclude, under
the circumstances of this case, where the motion is unopposed
and it appears that the delay in ruling is prejudicing
relators, that Respondent has abused her discretion by not
ruling on the motion within a reasonable time. See Rowe
v. Watkins, No. 08-09-00001-CV, 2009 WL 2623353, at *2
(Tex. App.-El Paso, 2009) (mem. op.) (holding that trial
court's delay of three months in ...