Jerald Grafton v. GSC Wholesale, LLC, American Arbitration Association – Employment Arbitration Tribunal, Case No. 01-21-0016-1908
Claimant Jerald Grafton (“Grafton”) brought a premises liability claim against his former employer, GSC Wholesale, LLC (“GSC”), a non-subscriber to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, claiming that on January 15, 2020, while in the course and scope of his employment as a Security Manager, he slipped and fell due to water on the floor at the base of a stairwell and sustained injuries to his back, neck, right shoulder, left elbow, and left foot. The lawsuit was subject to mandatory arbitration pursuant to the parties’ Employment Arbitration Agreement. The Arbitration took place over two days, September 13-14, 2022, with Arbitrator Scott Link presiding. CSRK partners Jaime A. Saenz and Elizabeth Herrera represented GSC at the Arbitration. In addition to Grafton’s extensive medical treatment and billing records, presentation of evidence included testimony from Grafton, GSC employees, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kenneth Berliner (on behalf of Grafton), Grafton’s retained economic expert Paul Thomas, Ph.D., and several of Grafton’s family members. In his Post-Hearing Brief, Grafton asserted entitlement to a minimum of $6,623,721 for recovery of past and future medical expenses, past lost earnings and loss of future earning capacity, past and future mental anguish, past and future physical pain and suffering, and past and future physical impairment. On behalf of GSC, it was asserted that Texas law applies the same general premises liability standard to cases involving an employee’s claims against a non-subscriber employer as they do in personal injury case involving any invitee plaintiff. Based on this standard, Grafton could not meet his burden in proving each element of his premises liability claim against GSC, had insufficient evidence to support a finding that the incident at issue proximately caused each of his alleged damages, and he failed to prove entitlement to recovery of his claimed damages by a preponderance of the evidence. On November 4, 2022, the Final Arbitral Award was issued with a total award to Grafton of $438,951.