Jeff Levinger authored the appellee’s brief that preserved an arbitration award of nearly $1 million in favor of Arnold & Itkin client Joseph Julian. After sustaining a serious workplace injury, Julian sued his employer, Load Trail LLC, a nonsubscriber to the Workers’ Compensation Act. Load Trail demanded arbitration, and following a three-day evidentiary hearing, the arbitrator found that a Load Trail employee was negligent in operating a forklift that struck Julian, and that Julian was entitled to economic and noneconomic damages. On appeal, Load Trail argued that the award should be vacated based on the arbitrator’s “evident partiality,” which Load Trail claimed was shown by various comments and rulings the arbitrator made during the hearing. The Texarkana Court of Appeals rejected this challenge, first holding that Load Trail waived it by not voicing any objection during the hearing to what it perceived to be the arbitrator’s actual basis. And even if Load Trail had timely objected, the Court held that the arbitrator’s comments and rulings did not rise to the level of “evident partiality” under the governing legal standards. Instead, Load Trail’s claims of evident partiality amounted to complaints about the merits, which the Court refused to second guess. Load Trail LLC v. Julian, No. 06-19-00099-CV, 2021 WL 55642 (Tex. App.—Texarkana Jan. 7, 2021, no pet. h.).
Texarkana Court of Appeals Rebuffs Employer’s Effort to Vacate Injured Worker’s $1 Million Arbitration Award