DAVID WHITE v. EMPIRE EXPRESS, INC. AND EMPIRE TRANSPORTATION, INC. (Tenn. Ct. App. December 13, 2011)
The case involves a lease-purchase agreement. The plaintiff truck driver worked for the defendant hauling company. He entered into a lease-purchase agreement with the co-defendant leasing company, affiliated with the employer hauling company, to purchase the truck he drove in his employment. At the end of the lease, the leasing company refused to transfer title to the truck to the plaintiff. The plaintiff then filed this lawsuit against both defendant companies, alleging breach of contract, conversion, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The defendants asserted the affirmative defenses of set-off and recoupment based on the plaintiff's employment agreement.
After a bench trial, the trial court held in favor of the plaintiff on all of his claims. However, based on an arbitration provision in the employment agreement, it granted the plaintiff's motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration of the defendants' affirmative defenses of set-off and recoupment. The defendants now appeal. In light of the trial court's order compelling arbitration, we dismiss the appeal and remand for entry of an order staying the proceedings pending the arbitration.
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