United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
C. CHAMBERS CHIEF JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' Five Guys Operations'
and David Derifield's (collectively
“Defendants”) Motion to Compel Arbitration and
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Stay This
Proceeding Pending Arbitration. ECF No. 3. Plaintiff Misty
Ashworth, a former employee of Five Guys in Huntington, West
Virginia, brought a sexual harassment suit against Five Guys
and her immediate supervisor, Derifield. Defendants assert
that Ashworth executed an arbitration agreement covering
claims arising from her employment with Five Guys and that
the agreement committed the determination of the validity and
the scope of the agreement to the arbitrator and not the
courts. The Court agrees and Defendant's Motion is
began working for Five Guys in Huntington, West Virginia in
April 2015. As a condition of her employment Ashworth signed
an employment agreement which contained an arbitration
agreement. She also signed a separate document entitled
“Arbitration Agreement” which further explained
the rights and duties of the parties if a dispute related to
Ashworth's employment should arise.
arbitration agreement contained in the document titled
“Employment Agreement & Arbitration of Employee
Rights” states in relevant part:
Because of the delay and expense of the court system, Five
Guys and I agree to use confidential binding arbitration,
instead of going to court, for any claims that arise between
me and Five Guys, its related companies, and/or their current
or future employees. This includes any claims concerning
compensation, employment, sexual or other types of harassment
or termination of employment. In any arbitration, the
then prevailing rules of the American Arbitration Association
(and, to the extent not inconsistent, the Federal Arbitration
Act) shall apply. (emphasis added).
document titled “Arbitration Agreement” states in
Employee and Company agree that if any dispute arises from
Employee's application or candidacy for employment,
employment and/or cessation of employment with Company, it
will be submitted to final and binding arbitration. This
means that a neutral arbitrator, rather than a court or jury,
will decide the dispute. Except as provided below, the
procedure for arbitration will be based on the rules for the
resolution of employment disputes of the American Arbitration
Association, and to the extent applicable the provisions of
the Federal Arbitration Act . . . . (emphasis added).
filed suit against Five Guys and her former supervisor,
Derifield, for constructive retaliatory discharge, sexual
harassment, hostile work environment, quid pro quo
sexual harassment, outrage, and negligent hiring,
supervision, and retention. Defendants now move the Court to
compel arbitration and either dismiss the case or stay it
pending arbitration pursuant to section 3 and section 4 of
the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). 9 U.S.C.
§§ 3, 4.
2 of the FAA provides:
A written provision in . . . a contract evidencing a
transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a
controversy thereafter arising out of such contract . . .
shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such
grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of
9 U.S.C. § 2. “The FAA thereby places arbitration
agreements on equal footing with other contracts, and
requires courts to enforce them according to their terms.
Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson, 561 U.S. 63,
67-68 (2010) (citing Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v.
Cardegna, 546 U.S. 440, 443 (2006); Volt Info.
Scis., Inc. v. Bd. of Trs. Of Leland Standford Junior
Univ., 489 U.S. 468, 478 (1989)).
3 of the FAA permits a party to apply to a federal court for
a stay “upon any issue referable to arbitration under
an agreement in writing for such arbitration.” 9 U.S.C.
§ 3. And Section 4 permits a party to petition a federal
court to compel arbitration “in the manner provided
for” in the arbitration agreement where the opposing
party failed “to arbitrate under” that agreement.
§ 4. The court is required to enforce the arbitration