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Heb Grocery Co. L.P. v. Rosario Del Cid

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

July 31, 2019

HEB GROCERY COMPANY L.P., Appellant
v.
Maria Del Rosario DEL CID, Appellee

          From the 111th Judicial District Court, Webb County, Texas Trial Court No. 2018-CVF-001384-D2 Honorable Monica Z. Notzon, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice Irene Rios, Justice Liza A. Rodriguez, Justice

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          LIZA A. RODRIGUEZ, JUSTICE

         Juan P. Del Cid Castillo sued HEB Grocery Company, L.P. asserting a negligence claim for injuries he sustained. In the same lawsuit, Juan's wife, Maria Del Rosario Del Cid, asserted a loss of consortium claim. HEB appeals the trial court's order denying its motion to stay the litigation of Maria's loss of consortium claim pending the arbitration of Juan's negligence claim. We reverse the trial court's order and remand the cause to the trial court for the entry of an order staying all proceedings in the underlying cause pending the outcome of the arbitration of Juan's claim.

         Background

         Juan was injured while attempting to cut tree limbs. Juan and Maria subsequently sued HEB alleging Juan was injured in the course and scope of his employment, and his injuries were proximately caused by the negligence of HEB acting through its agents, employees, and representatives. Juan sought to recover damages for his injuries, and Maria sought to recover damages for loss of consortium.

         HEB filed a motion to compel arbitration and to stay all proceedings. Attached to HEB's motion was an "Election and Agreement Form" signed by Juan when he first started his employment with HEB.[1] By signing the document, Juan agreed to arbitrate all disputes relating to workplace injuries under the Federal Arbitration Act.

         Initially, both Juan and Maria filed a response opposing the arbitration of their claims. At the hearing on HEB's motion, however, Juan agreed to submit his claim to arbitration, but Maria continued to oppose the arbitration of her claim, asserting she was a non-signatory to the agreement.

         The trial court granted the motion as to Juan's claim but denied the motion as to Maria's claim. On appeal, HEB does not challenge the portion of the trial court's order denying its motion to compel arbitration of Maria's claim. Instead, HEB only challenges the portion of the trial court's order denying its motion to stay the litigation of Maria's claim pending the outcome of the arbitration of Juan's claim.

         Jurisdiction

         In her brief, Maria asserts this court does not have jurisdiction to consider HEB's interlocutory appeal of the trial court's order denying the motion to stay Maria's claim. Instead, Maria contends HEB was required to challenge the trial court's ruling by seeking mandamus relief. In its reply brief, HEB responds this court has jurisdiction to consider its appeal based on section 51.016 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

         Section 51.016 of the Code provides:

In a matter subject to the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. Section 1 et seq.), a person may take an appeal or writ of error to the court of appeals from the judgment or interlocutory order of a district court, county court at law, or county court under the same circumstances that an appeal from a federal district court's order or decision would be permitted by 9 U.S.C. Section 16.

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 51.016. As previously noted, Juan agreed to arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. Under 9 U.S.C. Section 16 an appeal may be taken from an order refusing a stay of any action where an issue therein is referable to arbitration. 9 U.S.C. §§ 3, 16(a)(1)(A); see also Ruff v. Ruff, No. 05-13-00317-CV, 2013 WL 2470750, at *1 (Tex. App.- Dallas June 10, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op.) (noting "title 9, section 16 authorizes an appeal from an order denying a stay of the proceedings"); Acad., Ltd. v. Miller, 405 S.W.3d 152, 154 (Tex. App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, no pet.) (noting FAA allows party to appeal an order refusing to stay litigation pending arbitration of its subject matter). Accordingly, ...


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