January 26, 2014 | By McCathern Law
A team of McCathern lawyers including Partner Jeff C. Wright and Associates Stephanie M. Almeter and Farbod Farnia, recently succeeded in convincing the Texas Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas to reverse a trial court order denying Pilot Travel Center’s motion to compel arbitration in a nonsubscriber death case. Although the Court of Appeals initially dismissed Pilot’s appeal as untimely, the McCathern Team went back to the trial court and successfully argued the judge should enter an order finding Pilot did not receive timely notice of the trial court’s ruling, thereby extending the appellate deadlines. This order from the trial court, signed on the last day the Court of Appeals had the power to withdraw its original ruling, was promptly presented to the Court of Appeals by the McCathern team. Based on the eleventh-hour order, the Court of Appeals withdrew its prior opinion, reinstated the appeal as timely filed, and considered Pilot’s challenges to the trial court’s denial of Pilot’s arbitration motion. On consideration of the merits, the Court of Appeals promptly and unanimously reversed the trial court’s ruling and ordered that the claims against Pilot be arbitrated as agreed. In so doing, the Court of Appeals rejected Plaintiffs’ lack of authentic employee signature, waiver, unconscionability, and transportation worker arguments, among others. Of particular import is the Court of Appeals’ enforcement of the arbitration provision against not only the employee’s estate, but also his heirs who were non-signatories to the arbitration agreement suing Pilot for the employee’s wrongful death.