United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi United States District Judge.
issue is Defendant Bodega Latina Corporation's Motion to
Dismiss or Stay and Compel Arbitration (Doc. 17, Mot.), to
which Plaintiff Arturo Altamirano filed a Response (Doc. 21,
Resp.) and Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 22, Reply).
Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff raises a claim of
discrimination on the basis of a disability under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against Defendant, his
former employer. Defendant now moves to compel arbitration of
Plaintiff's claim under an Arbitration Agreement between
Defendant and Plaintiff.
resolve a motion to compel arbitration under the Federal
Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et
seq., a district court must determine (1) whether the
parties entered into a valid agreement to arbitrate, and (2)
whether the arbitration agreement encompasses the dispute at
issue. Lifescan, Inc. v. Premier Diabetic Servs.,
Inc., 363 F.3d 1010, 1012 (9th Cir. 2004). If the
district court finds that both elements are met, the FAA
requires the court to enforce the arbitration agreement.
Arbitration Agreement proffered by Defendant includes a
provision that Plaintiff agrees to “final and binding
arbitration before a single, neutral arbitrator” as the
“exclusive remedy for any covered claim” against
Defendant, where a covered claim includes wrongful
termination or discrimination. (Doc. 17-1, Arbitration
Agreement ¶ A.) Plaintiff signed the bottom of the
English-language version of the Agreement waiving his right
to a jury trial and consenting to arbitration, and he does
not now argue that the Agreement, if valid, does not
encompass the dispute in this lawsuit.
Plaintiff's native language is Spanish, Defendant avers
that it provided him with a Spanish version of the
Arbitration Agreement and explained it to him in Spanish at
an orientation meeting. (E.g., Doc. 17-2 at 2-3.)
Although Plaintiff avers he did not receive the document in
Spanish or attend an orientation (Doc. 21-1 at 2), he does
not argue that the Agreement he signed is invalid because it
is in English. Indeed, he avers that “[i]f it had been
presented to me at the time, I would have signed the Spanish
version of the Arbitration agreement.” (Doc. 21-1 at
Plaintiff argues that the Arbitration Agreement is invalid
because another employee of Defendant, Luis Trujillo, misled
him. (Resp. at 3.) Specifically, Plaintiff avers that he
asked Trujillo what papers he was signing, and Trujillo
“explained to [him] that the papers they wanted [him]
to sign were necessary to begin employment.” (Doc. 21-1
at 2.) Because Plaintiff alleges that he “relied on the
statement the papers were necessary for [him] to begin
employment” (Doc. 21-1 at 2), Plaintiff argues that
Trujillo's statement was a material misrepresentation
that somehow invalidates the Agreement. (Resp. at 4.)
is no evidence before the Court that Trujillo's statement
was a misrepresentation, because the papers Plaintiff signed
were a part of Defendant's employment package, and
“necessary to begin employment.” Thus,
Plaintiff's argument that Trujillo misrepresented the
papers to Plaintiff fails. Moreover, as the Court noted
above, Plaintiff explicitly states that he “is not
asking the Court to deny [Defendant's] Motion because the
paper he signed is written in English.” (Resp. at 4.)
Thus, Plaintiff is left with no defense for the fact that he
signed the Arbitration Agreement; for example, Plaintiff does
not attempt to argue, cite legal authority, or demonstrate
with facts that the Agreement was unconscionable. In signing
the Agreement, Plaintiff had a responsibility to read,
understand and comply with its terms. See Marchand v.
Northrop Grumman Corp., 2017 WL 2633132, at *5-6 (N.D.
Cal. June 19, 2017) (in applying analogous California common
law, concluding that, because the plaintiff “does not
contend her signature was fraudulently obtained, or was the
result of overreaching or excusable neglect, ” the
plaintiffs “signed acknowledgement is enforceable, and
she cannot now rely on arguments that nobody told her to read
the document prior to signing it; nobody told her she was
giving up her right to a jury trial; or that the document
contained ‘legal words and phrases' that were not
explained to her”).
has demonstrated that the Arbitration Agreement between
Plaintiff and Defendant is a valid agreement encompassing the
dispute in this lawsuit. Accordingly, under the FAA, the
Court must compel the parties to arbitrate their dispute.
Section 3 of the FAA provides that the Court “shall on
application of one of the parties stay the trial of the
action until such arbitration has been had in accordance with
the terms of the agreement.” Here, Defendant asked the
Court to dismiss or stay this action, and Plaintiff made no
request of the Court to stay this action pending the results
of the arbitration. Thus, in compelling arbitration, the
Court will in its discretion dismiss Plaintiff's claim
against Defendant in this lawsuit.
THEREFORE ORDERED granting Defendant Bodega Latina
Corporation's Motion to Dismiss or Stay and Compel
Arbitration (Doc. 17). The parties are directed to promptly
submit this matter to arbitration consistent with the terms
of their Arbitration Agreement and the provisions of the
Federal Arbitration Act.
FURTHER ORDERED dismissing Plaintiffs claim against Defendant
in this lawsuit.
FURTHER ORDERED directing the Clerk to enter judgment ...