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Daugherty v. Aaa Auto Club of Missouri

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

May 13, 2015

MIA M. DAUGHERTY, Plaintiff,
v.
AAA AUTO CLUB OF MISSOURI, Defendant.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and to Compel Arbitration [Doc. No. 11]. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is granted.

Facts and Background

The present dispute concerns Plaintiff Mia M. Daugherty's former employment with Defendant. Plaintiff was hired as a Member Representative (I) in Defendant's Communications Center on April 9, 2012. In September, 2013, Defendant instituted a mutual Arbitration Policy, by which its employees agreed to submit to binding arbitration of any employment related legal dispute. A "Rollout Memorandum" dated August 28, 2013, set out the arbitration details and specifically informed Defendant's employees that any legal action was to be submitted to binding arbitration in lieu of in a court of law. Plaintiff signed the arbitration agreement electronically on September 19, 2013. This agreement included a mandatory arbitration provision, which provided, in relevant part:

You acknowledge and agree that: (1) you have read and understand the terms and consequences of this Arbitration Agreement; (2) you have been given the opportunity to discuss this Arbitration Agreement with your own private legal counsel at your own expense and have done so to the extent that you wished to; and, (3) in consideration of your employment, or continued employment, you are knowingly and voluntarily entering into, and agreeing to accept all of the terms, conditions and benefits of this Arbitration Agreement without any duress or undue influence.
* * * * * *
... may be executed in counterparts, signed by an electronic or facsimile signature, and delivered electronically; each of the counterparts constitutes an original agreement and all of them together constitute one agreement. The parties have read this Arbitration Agreement and hereby voluntarily and knowingly agree to and accept all of its terms, conditions, and benefits.
* * * * * * *
This Mutual and Binding Arbitration Agreement ("Arbitration Agreement") requires you and [ACMO] to resolve through final and binding arbitration any and all disputes and claims between you and [ACMO], including, but not limited to, claims arising out of, related to, or connected with your employment or its termination.
....
"Arbitrable Claims" means all claims of any nature or kind arising out of, relating to, or connected with this Arbitration Agreement or your employment with [ACMO], including, but not limited to, your application for employment, the hiring decision, your employment relationship or the termination of your employment, between you and [ACMO] and/or any of its employees, agents, officers, or directors, ... Arbitrable Claims include, but are not limited to, any and all claims based on any federal or state constitution, statute, regulation, or ordinance or common law, including, but not limited to, claims for (1) wrongful termination of employment, harassment, employment discrimination or retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or any state or local discrimination laws such as the... Missouri Human Rights Act, ...; (2) claims for fraud, breach of contract or covenant (express or implied), unpaid wages and related claims, defamation, emotional distress, or any other tort claims; (3) claims for misappropriation of trade secrets or unfair competition; and, (4) any other legal claims, causes or actions recognized by local, state or federal law, regulations or ordinances, or federal or state constitutional provisions.

After Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment, Plaintiff filed this suit, claiming employment discrimination based on her race and gender. Plaintiff seeks recovery for a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.

Discussion

Defendant contends that the arbitration agreement is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and requires dismissal and an order compelling arbitration. "A dispute must be submitted to arbitration if there is a valid agreement to arbitrate and the dispute falls within the scope of that agreement." Lyster v. Ryan's Family Steak Houses, Inc., 239 F.3d 943, 945 (8th Cir.2001); see also Houlihan v. Offerman & Co., Inc., 31 F.3d 692, 695 (8th Cir.1994) ("A federal court must stay court proceedings and compel arbitration once it determines that the dispute falls within the scope of a valid arbitration agreement."). An arbitration agreement "is valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract." Houlihan, 31 F.3d at 695 (quoting 9 U.S.C. § 2). In addition, because the FAA declares "a liberal federal policy favoring arbitration agreements, ... ...


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