Lambert v. Tesla, Inc.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION 13 AND DENYING MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT 16 by Judge Vince Chhabria (vclc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/8/2018).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No. 17-cv-05369-VC
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO
COMPEL ARBITRATION AND
DENYING MOTION FOR PARTIAL
Re: Dkt. Nos. 13, 14, 16
Tesla's motion to compel arbitration is granted and DeWitt Lambert's motion for partial
summary judgment is denied.1
Lambert signed a binding arbitration agreement when he began working for Tesla. In
this motion, he argues that his section 1981 claim cannot be subjected to mandatory arbitration
because it involves his right not to be subjected to racial discrimination, which, he claims,
Congress intended to be adjudicated only in court. However, Ninth Circuit case law counsels
otherwise. In EEOC v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, the Ninth Circuit decided that Title
VII claims can be subjected to compulsory arbitration because section 118 of the Civil Rights
Act of 1991 encourages arbitration and alternative dispute resolution for Title VII claims. See
345 F.3d 742, 746-53 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Pub. L. No. 102-166, § 118, 105 Stat. 1071, 1081
(1991) ("Where appropriate and to the extent authorized by law, the use of alternative means of
dispute resolution, including . . . arbitration, is encouraged to resolve disputes arising under the
 Acts or provisions of Federal law amended by this title.")). Other circuits have arrived at
Tesla’s request for judicial notice (Dkt. No. 14) is granted, since each document is a state-court
filing and part of the public record. See Fed. R. Evid. 201.
the same conclusion. See 345 F.3d at 748-49.
The Ninth Circuit’s reasoning is binding here: if Title VII claims can be subjected to
arbitration based on section 118 and the logic of Luce, Forward, so can section 1981 claims.
The application of section 118 is not confined to Title VII. In fact, looking just to the text – as
Luce, Forward did – section 118 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 is codified in the notes to
section 1981 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code. Additionally, Title VII and section 1981 claims are
considered analogous and often brought together in the same suits. Of course, the two statutes
are not identical – for instance, an individual must file a charge with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission before bringing a Title VII claim, but not before bringing a section
1981 claim. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5. But these differences do not justify departing from the
reasoning of Luce, Forward.
Therefore, the motion to compel arbitration is granted and the case is dismissed without
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: January 8, 2018
United States District Judge
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