Dishwasher wants to reinstate suit against retirement home

By David Yates | Feb 25, 2010

Dowlen Oaks Retirment Home

A dishwasher who blamed his skin problems on his employer's failure to adequately train him how to wash dishes is asking an appellate court to reinstate his suit against the Dowlen Oaks Retirement Center.

In November 2007, the Southeast Texas Record reported on a suit filed by Gary Stallworth, who claims his sensitive skin condition was caused by washing dishes at the retirement center.

A year later case proceedings were halted, as Stallworth and Dowlen Oaks agreed to enter into arbitration.

On July 2, 2009, an arbitrator granted a no evidence motion for summary judgment by Dowlen Oaks.

The unfavorable outcome led Stallworth to jump out of arbitration and back in to the civil courts.

Representing himself, Stallworth filed an appeal in the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals on Aug. 27. The case has been set for submission on briefs for Tuesday, May 2.

However, a Ninth Court employee informed the Record that as of Feb. 24, no legal briefs have been filed.

Through attorney Pat McGinnis, Stallworth originally filed a personal-injury lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on Nov. 7, 2007.

Stallworth's claims he was washing dishes for Dowlen Oaks on Nov. 28, 2005, when he began to notice a skin problem on his hands.

In his suit, Stallworth claims doctors informed him the injury was caused by the manner in which he was washing dishes.

"The incident was caused by negligent acts...on the part of Dowlen Oaks," the suit said.

The suit alleges Dowlen Oaks is negligent for failing to provide proper training, equipment and staff and for failing to provide a safe place to work.

Stallworth is seeking damages for his past and future physical pain, mental anguish, lost wages, impairment and medical expenses, plus actual and compensatory damages.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, presided over the case.

Trial case No. D180-722
Appeals case No. 09-09-00395-CV

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