Dowlen Oaks dismissed from sexual assault case

David Yates Mar. 12, 2012, 9:12am


An agreed motion for dismissal was recently granted in a sexual assault case filed against the Emeritus Corp., doing business as Dowlen Oaks, an assisted living center in Beaumont.

In May 2010, Dowlen Oaks employee Margaret Garrett filed suit against her employer and co-worker Joseph Lewis, who she claims assaulted and sexually harassed her on Sept. 29, 2008.

In her suit, Garrett alleges Lewis inflicted bodily harm through "personal contact in a manner that would offend a reasonable person's sense of dignity," and that he knew she would regard as offensive, extreme and outrageous.

Court records show that on Nov. 15 Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, issued an agreed order of dismissal, stating that the dispute between Emeritus and the plaintiffs had been resolved.

Judge Wortham had previously ordered the parties into arbitration on Oct. 5.

Dowlen Oaks had filed an unopposed motion to compel arbitration and stay further proceedings on Sept. 21, 2010, maintaining that Garrett's claims were subject to arbitration under its occupational injury benefit plan, which she agreed to when accepting employment.

The order dismisses Emeritus with prejudice, giving the plaintiffs the right to re-file the claim, court records show.

Lewis is still a defendant in the suit.

In her suit, Garrett claimed Dowlen Oaks negligently failed to use ordinary care to determine whether a perspective employee is competent to be hired.

The plaintiffs are represented by James E. Payne, Jennifer Job Seale and Kendall Cockrell of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

Dowlen Oaks is represented by attorney William Davis, a partner at Jackson Lewis in Dallas.

Case No. A186-792

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