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A Texas appeals court has reversed a trial judge’s decision that denied a bid by retailer Walmart that sought to compel arbitration and stay litigation in a case brought by an injured worker.
The Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District on Thursday said a trial court was wrong to deny a motion by Walmart Texas LLC to halt a lawsuit brought by employee Tony Peavley, who sued the company for negligence after he was allegedly injured while moving pallets of water.
Walmart responded to the civil complaint by demanding arbitration, arguing that there existed a valid, enforceable arbitration agreement that should have barred litigation.
As a non-subscriber to Texas workers compensation insurance, employees who are injured on the job should be covered by the Texas Injury Care Benefit Plan, the company stated.
Texas is the only state in the nation that does not force employers to carry workers compensation insurance.
Walmart argued that binding arbitration should be the exclusive remedy for resolving claims between the company and employees.
Mr. Peavley counter-argued that he did not recall signing arbitration agreement when he began working for Walmart, but the appeals court found that there was evidence to the contrary.
The appeals court determined that Walmart had met its burden of proving the existence of the valid arbitration agreement that said the trial court was wrong to deny the company’s bid to compel arbitration.
The court remanded the case to the trial judge for further proceedings.