BEAUMONT - A Jefferson County man who sued his former employer alleging an on-the-job injury will have his case go to arbitration.

Seeking $1 million in damages, Thomas Williford filed a lawsuit Oct. 8 in Jefferson County District Court against T.W. Odom Management Services, alleging negligence.

According to his petition, on Jan. 22, 2014 Williford was working at a job site during the course of his employment with Odom Management, when he slipped on a loose piece of flooring and sustained injuries.

Court records show T.W. Odom Management filed a motion to compel arbitration in the case, asserting Williford had agreed to enter into an arbitration agreement.

When the trial court denied the motion, the company appealed.

On Aug. 25 the Ninth Court of Appeals found in favor of T.W. Odom Management, ordering the trial court to enter an order granting the company’s motion.

“Because the arbitration agreement clearly and unmistakably shows that T.W. Odom and Williford intended to delegate gateway issues relating to the interpretation, applicability, or enforceability of the agreement to the arbitrator, we conclude that the trial court erred by deciding whether Williford’s negligence claims fall within the scope of the parties’ agreement,” states the Ninth Court’s opinion.

“Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s order denying arbitration and remand to the trial court with instructions to enter an order granting T.W. Odom’s motion to compel arbitration.”

The suit alleges the defendant was negligent in failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to keep premises safe and orderly, failing to provide adequate manpower for the work in question, failing to provide adequate instructions and warnings to employees, and other negligent acts or omissions.

As a result, the plaintiff suffered bodily injuries and sustained physical impairment, pain and mental anguish, loss of earnings and earning capacity, and medical expenses.

Williford seeks monetary relief of more than $1 million, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs.

He is represented by attorney Taylor Miller of Reaud, Morgan & Quinn in Beaumont.

Judge Kent Walston, 58th District Court, is presiding over the case in the trial court.

Jefferson County District Court case number A-197693.

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