Arbitration granted in sexual assault case against Dowlen Oaks

By David Yates | Nov 23, 2010

An unopposed motion for arbitration 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, 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.

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

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, approved the motion on Oct. 5.

Lewis is still a defendant in the suit.

Because of Lewis' conduct, Garrett claims she incurred medical costs; experienced extreme physical pain, suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment; and lost her earnings and her earning capacity, the suit states.

She also alleges Dowlen Oaks negligently failed to use ordinary care to determine whether a perspective employee is competent to be hired.

Garrett's husband, Steven, is also a plaintiff in the case, and is seeking damages for mental anguish and loss of consortium.

They 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 Dallas attorney William Davis of Jackson Lewis.

Case No. A186-792

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