The Supreme Court of Texas has declined to consider whether an arbitrator exceeded his authority in a workplace discrimination dispute. In Methodist Healthcare System, Ltd., LLP v. Friesenhahn, No. 17-0955, a Texas woman, Friesenhahn, was awarded almost $384,000 in damages and legal fees for discrimination following arbitration with her former employer, Methodist Healthcare Systems. After a trial court confirmed the award, the hospital appealed the case to the Fourth District Court of Appeals in San Antonio based on a claim that “the arbitrator ignored the legal standards applicable in reviewing Friesenhahn’s discrimination claim.”
Last October, the appellate court affirmed much of the lower court’s judgment and Methodist Healthcare Systems filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court the following month. (A more detailed background on the case is available in another Disputing blog post.)
According to the hospital’s petition, the Issues Presented in the case were:
- Whether an arbitration award must be reviewed for legal error to determine whether the arbitrator exceeded his authority where the arbitration agreement required the arbitrator to follow legal precedent and be subject to the same limitations in granting a remedy as a court.
- (Unbriefed) Whether the arbitrator exceeded his power by awarding damages for discrimination when, under governing precedent, the claimant presented no evidence of discrimination.
On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas denied the hospital’s petition for review without further comment.