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Murphy v. Oracle America, Inc.

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

June 19, 2019

GLENN MURPHY, Plaintiff,
v.
ORACLE AMERICA, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration (ECF No. 6). The Motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises from Plaintiff's employment and termination of his employment on March 2, 2018. On March 20, 2019, the Plaintiff filed the instant case in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, in the State of Missouri. (Cause No: 19SL-CC01187). Plaintiff alleges claims under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) for discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment due to age and alleged disability. On May 8, 2019, the Defendant removed the case to this Court. (ECF No. 1). Defendant now seeks to compel Plaintiff's claims to arbitration to the parties' Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §1, et seq. (“FAA”). Defendant asserts that at all times during Plaintiff's employment with Defendant the Parties were subject to a Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate (“MAA”). (ECF No. 7, at 2). The MAA states:

You and Oracle understand that any existing or future dispute or claim arising out of or related to your Oracle employment or the termination of that employment, will be resolved by final and binding arbitration, and that no other forum for dispute resolution will be available to either party, except as to those claims identified below. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on both you and Oracle and it shall be enforceable by any court having proper jurisdiction.
The arbitration proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, and in accordance with the National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes of the American Arbitration Association or the Employment Arbitration Rules and Procedures adopted by Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services (“JAMS”). The arbitrator will have all the powers a judge would have in dealing with any question or dispute that may arise before, during and after the arbitration.

         Claims Not Covered

         Claims not covered by the Arbitration Agreement are:

1. Claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention,
2. Claims for benefits under the workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and state disability insurance laws, and
3. Claims by you or by Oracle for temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions (“temporary equitable relief”) in cases in which such temporary equitable relief would be otherwise authorized by law. In such cases where temporary equitable relief is sought, the trial on the merits of the action will occur in front of, and will be decided by the arbitrator, who will have the same ability to order legal equitable remedies as could a court of general jurisdiction.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendant asserts that the MAA is valid and enforceable against the Plaintiff. (ECF No. 7, at 5). Plaintiff disagrees stating that the Court should find that the MAA lacks consideration. (ECF No. 11, 3-4). Plaintiff further requests that the Court apply the doctrine of unclean hands to determine that the MAA is unenforceable. The Defendant argues that the Plaintiff has misunderstood the law regarding the arbitrability of the MAA because under the AAA and JAMS Rules, the Arbitrator not the court may rule on the validity and enforceability of the Arbitration Agreement. (ECF No. 14). Defendant further argues that this Court should stay judicial proceedings pending arbitration. (ECF No. 7, at 10).

         Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1B16, states that an agreement to arbitrate “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. This provision reflects the strong federal policy favoring arbitration. AT & T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion,563 U.S. 333, 339 (2011). Because “arbitration is a matter of contract, ….courts must rigorously enforce arbitration agreements according to their terms, ” American Exp. Co. v. Italian Colors Rest., 570 U.S. 228, 233 (2013) (internal quotations and citation omitted), including requirements to pursue claims through individual arbitration. Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S.Ct. ...


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