Arbitration Clause Applies to Post-Employment Defamation

The alleged conduct of a prior employer after termination of the employee must be arbitrated pursuant to an arbitration agreement, according to the Fort Worth Court of Appeals. In Ensign Group, Inc., et al. v. Mammen, Cause No. 02-14-00317-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth May 14, 2015), Defendant terminated Plaintiff’s employment. When a prospective employer contacted Defendant for a reference for Plaintiff, Defendant allegedly stated that Plaintiff was “lazy” and was escorted out of the building by police. The prospective employer allegedly told Plaintiff that it would not offer her a position based on Defendant’s poor reference. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence, slander and tortious interference with prospective contract. Defendant moved to compel arbitration of Plaintiff’s claims on the basis of an arbitration agreement the parties entered into while Plaintiff was still an employee of Defendant. The agreement called for all claims, “whether or not” the claims arose out of Plaintiff’s “employment, remuneration or termination,” to be arbitrated under the Federal Arbitration Act. The agreement also stated that it would survive termination of the

Exception to Statute of Frauds Validates Oral Contract for Sale of Property

Using the equitable partial performance exception to the statue of frauds, the Dallas Court of Appeals has upheld an oral contract for transfer of real property. In Beard v. Anderson, Cause No. 05-14-00396-CV (Tex. App.— Dallas June 19, 2015), the Court heard a dispute between family members regarding 2.89 acres of real property in Kaufman County, Texas. Plaintiff, Defendants’ aunt, sued Defendants seeking specific performance or, in the alternative, damages associated with transfer of the property. According to Plaintiff, the parties came to an agreement in 2010 to transfer the property from Defendants to Plaintiff, but never signed any documents memorializing the transaction. Plaintiff began living in her RV on the property, spent money to improve the property, and continued to attempt to negotiate a written agreement for transfer of the property. After communications between Plaintiff and Defendants ceased, Defendants served Plaintiff with a notice to vacate the premises. Plaintiff subsequently filed suit. The statute of frauds requires a contract for sale of real estate to be in writing and signed by