The Texas arbitration statutes contemplate that a trial court has jurisdiction to issue an injunction in support of an arbitration. So what happens if the trial court issues a temporary injunction but the form of the injunction does not (and cannot) comply with Rule 683? According to the Dallas Court of Appeals, Rule 683 takes a backseat to the Texas Arbitration Act.
Senter Investments, L.L.C. v. Veerjee, involves an interlocutory appeal from a temporary injunction order. The parties to the appeal had a lease agreement that required them to arbitrate, but the Veerjees asserted that there was a breach of the agreement when Senter entered into a contract with a third party to sell the property without first giving the Veerjees a right of first offer. For that reason, the Veerjees sought and obtained a temporary injunction to halt the sale. The trial court also ordered the parties to arbitrate pursuant to the arbitration clause in the lease agreement. In its interlocutory appeal, Senter challenged the injunction as void because Rule 683 requires an injunction order to set a date for trial on the merits.
The court of appeals held that Rule 683’s trial-setting requirement would conflict with the Texas Arbitration Act and that the Texas Arbitration Act must prevail over court rule. Interestingly, the court also refused to address any of the merit-based challenges to the temporary injunction on the ground that doing so would constitute an advisory opinion, which is prohibited. The court’s opinion scolds the parties for having done nothing toward filing and pursuing the arbitration ordered by the trial court. One question that is raised by this opinion (and the predecessor opinions cited within it) is whether the statutory right to an interlocutory appeal to challenge the granting of a temporary injunction is an empty right if it means a party can never have the merits of the temporary injunction determined by the court of appeals. The court’s opinion may be found here.