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Texas courts are routinely sending employment and business disputes to arbitration as a result of sometimes unknown or hidden arbitration clauses.  However, there is still hope for those who want to stay in the judicial system and have a trial before a jury of their peers.  There are still many ways to avoid an arbitration agreement

On February 6, 2013 The El Paso Court of Appeals in Delfingen US-Texas, L.P. v. Valenzuela upheld a ruling that an arbitration agreement that was part of a "new employee packet" was procedurally unconscionable and could not be enforced.  Ms. Valenzuela testified that she understood little English and when she was signed the arbitration agreement, it was never explained to her.  The court found that Ms. Valenzuela's employer did not explain, discuss or translate the arbitration agreement and that the trial court could have found that the employer affirmatively misled Ms. Valenzuela of the importance of the agreement.  The court held that Ms. Valenzuela carried her burden of proving the arbitration agreement was procedurally unconscionable and could not be enforced.

Texas law makes it difficult to avoid arbitration clauses, but a careful review of the facts surrounding the agreement may still open some avenues to avoid them.

Jim M. Zadeh
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