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ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

The decedent in this wrongful death suit was a party to an employee benefit plan that contained an agreement to arbitrate any personal injury or wrongful death claims against his employer, a nonsubscriber to workers’ compensation insurance. The trial court denied the employer’s motion to compel arbitration of the family members’ claims, and the court of appeals denied mandamus relief, concluding that the wrongful death beneficiaries did not sign the arbitration agreement and were not bound by it. 269 S.W.3d 302. Given our subsequent holding in In re Labatt Food Service, L.P., 279 S.W.3d 640 (Tex. 2009), however, the wrongful death beneficiaries, as derivative claimants, are bound by the decedent’s agreement to arbitrate. Moreover, Texas Labor Code section 406.033(e), which prohibits pre-injury waivers of personal injury or death claims, does not invalidate the decedent’s arbitration agreement. Accordingly, we conditionally grant the petition for writ of mandamus.

Grant Drennan was killed while in the course and scope of his employment with Golden Peanut Company, LLC. Golden Peanut did not subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance, but instead provided employees with an Employee Injury Benefit Plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001–1461. Attached to the benefit plan was a Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate which provided that any and all claims or controversies concerning or relating to Drennan’s employment, including personal injury and wrongful death claims, must be submitted to binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1–16.

 
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