As a condition of his employment at Bison, Aldridge signed an arbitration agreement in which he agreed to resolve by arbitration any claims for work-related injuries. After Aldridge sustained an injury at work, Bison paid him approximately $80,000 in medical and wage replacement benefits in exchange for a release in which Aldridge gave up the right to take legal action. Aldridge later demanded arbitration. The arbitrator dismissed Aldridge’s claim with prejudice based on the terms of the release. Aldridge filed a petition to vacate; Bison moved to confirm.
The trial court vacated in part, holding that there were unresolved questions of fact regarding whether the release and waiver was enforceable. In particular, the court held that there were fact issues regarding whether Texas’s fair notice requirement had been met and, if not, whether both parties had actual knowledge of the terms of the waiver. Further, the court held that there was a question regarding whether the “ambiguous terms of the waiver” precluded arbitration. Bison appealed. The court of appeals held that the trial court’s order was interlocutory and thus not appealable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the order was interlocutory and non- appealable because it left “significant factual and legal issues open for further determination.” The dissenting justices opined that mandamus review was warranted under Texas procedure because the FAA would permit an appeal from the trial court’s order, which the dissent argued calls for an “arbitration Mulligan.” Bison Bldg. Materials, Ltd. v. Aldridge, No. 06-1084 (Tex. Jan. 16, 2008).