Plaintiff sued the defendant, pet-products manufacturer and her former employer. Plaintiff alleges that she got throat cancer and had surgery to remove her teeth and a part of her tongue as a result of working as a pet-toy assembler. The employment contract provided for an arbitration in case of a dispute. Plaintiff moved to set aside the agreement, claiming she did not understand English as she only spoke Vietnamese. Trial court granted the motion.
On appeal, the court vacated the trial court's order. The appellate court found that the inability to understand English is not a contract-formation defense, as long as the plaintiff was a mentally competent adult.
The only surprise in this case is that the trial court initially found for the plaintiff. In an employment context, and especially in a jurisdiction like Texas, it is exceedingly difficult for recent immigrants to get the court to make allowances for the challenges they face.