Court of Appeals of Texas, Eighth District, El Paso
from 346th District Court of El Paso County, Texas (TC #
McClure, C.J., Rodriguez, J., and Larsen, J. (Senior Judge)
CRAWFORD MCCLURE, CHIEF JUSTICE.
an interlocutory appeal from the denial of a motion to compel
arbitration pursuant to Section 51.016 of the Texas Civil
Practice and Remedies Code. Tex.Civ.Prac.&Rem.Code Ann.
§ 51.016 (West 2015)(permitting an interlocutory appeal
from the denial of a motion to compel arbitration under the
Federal Arbitration Act). ReadyOne Industries, Inc. raises
one issue contending the trial court abused its discretion in
denying its motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings
pending arbitration. For the reasons that follow, we reverse
and remand with instructions to enter an order compelling
is a garment manufacturer located in El Paso, Texas. Pursuant
to a contract with the United States Government, ReadyOne
manufactures and supplies apparel for the United States
Military. ReadyOne's involvement in interstate commerce
includes purchasing goods and services from out-of-state that
are shipped to it in Texas, and manufacturing goods that are
then shipped and used out of state.
employed Iveth Rodriguez Lopez in May 2011 as a sewing
machine operator. On May 31, 2011, she signed a document
entitled "Receipt and Arbitration Acknowledgment."
Her signature acknowledged that she received and read, or had
the opportunity to read, the following documents: the Mutual
Agreement to Arbitrate (MAA), the Benefits Schedule, and the
Summary Plan Description (SPD) for the Employee Injury
Benefit Plan. She further acknowledged by her signature that
claims and disputes covered under the MAA "must be
submitted to an arbitrator, rather than a judge and jury in
court;" that she and ReadyOne were mutually
"agreeing to comply with [the] arbitration
requirements;" that all covered claims would be subject
to the MAA; and that "any decision of an arbitrator will
be final and binding."
signed by the parties provided that all covered claims would
be exclusively resolved by binding arbitration under the
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The MAA set out all
arbitration procedures, contained an integration clause
providing that it constituted the complete agreement and
superseded any prior agreement regarding arbitration; and
indicated that any oral representations made before or after
Lopez was hired did not alter the MAA.
October 2013, Lopez claimed that she suffered injuries
resulting from "repetitive sewing tasks." In her
affidavit submitted to the trial court, Lopez did not deny
signing the MAA, but rather, insisted that she did not
remember signing the document. She stated that she signed
numerous documents related to her employment and hiring, but
ultimately did not know why she was signing them. According
to her affidavit, ReadyOne told her that the documents were
for benefits if she got hurt on the job. She further claimed
to have been misled into believing that the documents were
not important and were only routine documents that ReadyOne
needed to complete its paperwork for her employment. She did
not know that: (1) she was signing an arbitration agreement;
(2) she was waiving her rights; (3) she could seek the advice
of counsel before signing the documents; or (4) she was
permitted to decline to sign the documents. She also claimed
that ReadyOne never told her that the arbitration agreement
was a "stand-alone" document and she was not given
any time to review the documents before signing them.
Finally, Lopez contended that ReadyOne never told her that
she was signing an arbitration agreement or what that meant,
no one ever explained to her the contents of the documents or
their effect, she was never provided with an orientation
session, and no one ever translated the documents for her.
She insisted that she never would have signed the arbitration
agreement had she been advised that it meant she was waiving
her right to a jury trial.
addition to her claims concerning the MAA, Lopez's
affidavit also provided the trial court with a description of
several learning disorders from which she suffers, including:
a dysthymic disorder, reading disorder, disorder of written
expression, and a language disorder. She further related to
the trial court that she had a reading ability below the
second grade level and experienced difficulties with her
filed her original petition in April 2014 and alleged that no
valid MAA existed. She provided the following reasons,
relevant to this appeal, as to why the MAA and Injury Benefit
Plan were void and invalid:
• The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) is inapplicable to
• The documents are procedurally and substantively
• The MAA is unenforceable because the FAA is
unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment of the United
States for hourly employees involved in a labor job.
• The MAA is void in violation of the Texas Labor Code
Sections 406.033(e) and 406.035. Tex.Lab.Code Ann.
§§ 406.033(e), 406.035 (West 2015).
• The MAA is illusory and unenforceable.
• The MAA is unenforceable under Texas law, specifically
Section 171.002(a)(3) of the Texas Civil Practice and
Remedies Code. Tex.Civ.Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. §
response, ReadyOne filed its original answer as well as a
motion to compel arbitration. In support of its motion,
ReadyOne submitted the affidavit of its Director of Human
Resources and Compliance, Guadalupe Madrid, and the following
five documents: (1) the MAA (Exhibit A); (2) the Receipt and
Arbitration Acknowledgment (Exhibit B); (3) the Employee
Injury Benefit Plan (Exhibit C); (4) the Summary Plan
Description (SPD) (Exhibit D); and (5) the Employee
Orientation PowerPoint Presentation (Exhibit E). Following a
hearing in August 2014, the trial court denied the motion to
compel. ReadyOne now appeals.
sole issue, ReadyOne challenges the order refusing to compel
arbitration. Lopez raised several arguments in opposition to
the motion to compel arbitration and the trial court denied
the motion without specifying the basis for the ruling.