Dishwasher who sued for skin problems loses appeal

By David Yates | Apr 7, 2010

Gary Stallworth, a dishwasher who blames his skin problems on inadequate training, has now struck out three times, as a higher court recently ruled that a lower court and an arbitrator were justified in dismissing his claims.

On April 1 justices seated on Texas' Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled that Stallworth did not present the court with grounds to vacate the arbitrator's decision in his suit against Dowlen Oaks Retirement Center.

The Southeast Texas Record first reported on Stallworth's case in November 2007. The dishwasher filed a suit claiming his sensitive skin condition was caused by washing dishes at the retirement center.

One year later, the ligation came to a standstill, as Stallworth and Dowlen Oaks agreed to enter into arbitration.

An arbitrator granted a no evidence motion for summary judgment in favor of Dowlen Oaks on July 2, 2009.

Judge Milton Shuffield, who presided over the case, upheld the arbitrator's decision.

Representing himself, Stallworth filed an appeal on Aug. 27 in which he argued his case should not have been dismissed because he sustained an on-the-job injury but did not receive workers' compensation benefits.

"Stallworth did not present the trial court with grounds to vacate the arbitrator's decision," states the court's memorandum opinion. "Accordingly, the trial court was authorized to confirm the arbitrator's decision. We affirm the trial court's final order in this case."

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

Dowlen Oaks was represented by attorney Jay M. Wallace.

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

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