United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION, STAYING
AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING CASE
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
March 1, 2018, Defendant, Menard, Inc., removed this case
from the Circuit Court of Saginaw County. ECF No. 1. The
complaint alleges discrimination and retaliation in violation
of the Michigan Elliot Larson Civil Rights Act,
(“ELCRA”), M.C.L. 37.2202. ECF No. 1-2. On March
2, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration,
seeking to enforce the terms of the employment agreement
between Plaintiff and Menard. ECF No. 4. Plaintiff responded
on March 22, 2018, opposing the motion. ECF No. 10.
to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), when an arbitration
agreement governs a dispute that a Federal District Court
would otherwise have jurisdiction to adjudicate, the party
aggrieved by the alleged failure to arbitrate may petition
that Federal District Court for an order compelling such
arbitration to proceed. 9 U.S.C. § 4. The FAA requires a
Federal Court to compel arbitration when a party to an
arbitration agreement fails or refuses to comply with the
provisions of an enforceable arbitration agreement.
three cases now known as the “Steelworkers
Trilogy, ” the Court established four fundamental
principles regarding federal arbitration. E.g.,
AT&T Techs., Inc. v. Commc'ns Workers of
Am., 475 U.S. 643, 648 (1986) (citing Steelworkers
v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co., 363 U.S. 574
(1960); Steelworkers v. Am. Mfg. Co., 363 U.S. 564
(1960); and Steelworkers v. Enter. Wheel & Car
Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960)).
“arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot
be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has
not agreed so to submit.” AT&T, 475 U.S.
at 648 (quoting Warrior & Gulf, 363 U.S. at
582). That is, “arbitrators derive their authority to
resolve disputes only because the parties have agreed in
advance to submit such grievances to arbitration.”
AT&T, 475 U.S. at 648-49 (citing Gateway
Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of Am., 414 U.S. 368,
374 (1974)). Therefore, arbitration agreements are
“valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such
grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of
any contract.” AT&T Mobility LLC v.
Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333, 339 (2011) (citing 9 U.S.C.
“the question of arbitrability - whether a [contract]
creates a duty for the parties to arbitrate the particular
grievance - is undeniably an issue for judicial
determination.” AT&T, 475 U.S. at 649.
Thus, “whether or not the company was bound to
arbitrate, as well as what issues it must arbitrate, is a
matter to be determined by the Court on the basis of the
contract entered into by the parties.” Id.
(quoting John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston,
376 U.S. 543, 547(1964)).
“in deciding whether the parties have agreed to submit
a particular grievance to arbitration, a court is not to rule
on the potential merits of the underlying claims.”
AT&T, 475 U.S. at 649. Rather, the court must
simply evaluate whether the particular grievance is
arbitrable. Id. at 650.
fourth, under federal law “there is a presumption of
arbitrability.” Id. Consequently, “an
order to arbitrate the particular grievance should not be
denied unless it may be said with positive assurance that the
arbitration clause is not susceptible of an interpretation
that covers the asserted dispute. Doubts should be resolved
in favor of coverage.” Id. (internal
alteration omitted) (quoting Warrior & Gulf, 363
U.S. at 582-83).
undisputed that the employment agreement, including the
remedy provision, is valid and enforceable. The dispute
concerns the scope of the remedy provision. Defendant
essentially argues that the remedy provision speaks for
itself, and the Court should compel arbitration.Defendant did
not file a reply brief addressing Plaintiff's arguments.
Plaintiff argues that the remedy provision is ambiguous and
only applies to current employees, not employees who have
been terminated. The provision at issue provides as follows:
Remedy. I agree that all problems, claims and
disputes experienced related to my employment area shall
first be resolved as outlined in the Team Member Relations
section of the "Grow With Menards Team Member
Information Booklet" which I have received. If I am
unable to resolve the dispute by these means for any reason,
I agree to submit to final and binding arbitration.
Arbitration shall be the sole and exclusive forum and remedy
for all covered disputes of either Menard, Inc. or me. Unless
Menard and I agree otherwise, any arbitration proceeding will
take place in the county of my Menard's employment where
the dispute arose. Problems, claims or disputes subject to
binding arbitration include, but are not limited to:
statutory claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981-1988; Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Older Workers'
Benefit Protection Act ("OWPBA"); Fair Labor
Standards Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; Americans with
Disabilities Act; Uniformed Services Employment ...