United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is the defendant's Motion to Dismiss and
Compel Arbitration [ECF No. 5]. On May 9, 2019, the plaintiff
responded. The defendant did not reply, and the time to reply
has expired. The Motion is now ripe for review. For the
reasons that follow, the Motion is GRANTED.
defendant, Captain D's LLC, operates a chain of seafood
restaurants and employed the plaintiff, Michael Raynes. As a
condition of employment, the plaintiff agreed to the terms of
the defendant's Employee Dispute Resolution Plan [ECF No.
5-1] (“EDR Plan”).
Plan creates a two-step procedure for resolving disputes that
arise from the employment relationship. See Mot.
Dismiss Ex. 1 at 6. At step one, there is an internal
complaint process where employees “try to resolve their
problems and complaints through discussions with their
immediate supervisor or their department head.”
Alternatively, the employee can bring the dispute to the
attention of the Human Resources Department. Id. If
that fails, and if the company or the employee wishes to
pursue the claim further, they must do so through
“final and binding arbitration” at step two.
terms of the EDR Plan cover the following claims:
Except as provided in this Plan, this Plan applies to any and
all legal claims, demands or controversies between the
Company and its employees, including those that relate to,
arise from, concern, or involve in any way this Plan, the
employment of the employee, or any other matter between
the Company and the employee, whether or not involving the
employee's employment relationship with the Company. By
way of example and without limitation, this Plan covers
allegations of discrimination based on race, sex, religion,
age, ethnic origin, national origin, color, disability or
handicap; wage disputes; retaliation for exercising
legal rights or refraining in engaging in illegal activity;
defamation; infliction of emotional distress; invasion of
privacy; promissory estoppel; wrongful discharge or
wrongful termination; breach of fiduciary duties;
breach of contract; negligence; and willful misconduct.
Id. at 5 (emphasis added)
March 1, 2019, the plaintiff filed his Complaint [ECF No.
1-1] in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia,
alleging claims of discrimination and wrongful discharge.
Specifically, he alleges that the defendant failed to
accommodate his purported disability and terminated his
employment because of his disability in violation of the West
Virginia Human Rights Act (“WVHRA”) and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
See Compl. On April 17, 2019, the defendant removed
this action based on federal question jurisdiction and
invoking the court's supplemental jurisdiction over the
state claims. On May 9, 2019, the defendant moved to compel
arbitration and dismiss this action pursuant to the EDR Plan.
Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) provides that
written arbitration agreements involving interstate commerce
“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 (2012).
The FAA embodies “a congressional declaration of a
liberal federal policy favoring arbitration agreements . . .
[and] create[s] a body of federal substantive law of
arbitrability, applicable to any arbitration agreement within
coverage of the Act.” Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp.
v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24 (1983). A court
must give “due regard” to this federal policy
favoring arbitration and should resolve “ambiguities as
to the scope of the arbitration clause itself in favor of
arbitration.” Volt Info. Scis., Inc. v. Bd. of Trs.
of Leland Stanford Jr. Univ., 489 U.S. 468, 475-76
court determines that an arbitration agreement is governed by
the FAA, it must enforce the agreement and stay “any
suit or proceeding” pending arbitration of “any
issue referable to arbitration” under the agreement. 9
U.S.C. § 3. As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has
observed, “[t]his stay-of-litigation provision is
mandatory, ” and a district court “has no choice
but to grant a motion to compel arbitration where a valid
arbitration agreement exists and the issues in a case fall
within its purview.” Adkins v. Labor Ready,
Inc., 303 F.3d 496, 500 (4th Cir. 2002).
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has incorporated these
requirements of the FAA into four factors that, if
demonstrated by the litigant, allow him to compel arbitration
and force the court to stay the case:
(1) the existence of a dispute between the parties, (2) a
written agreement that includes an arbitration provision
which purports to cover the dispute, (3) the relationship of
the transaction, which is evidenced by the agreement, to
interstate or foreign commerce, and (4) the failure, ...