Caldwell v. Rent A Center, Inc. et al
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION. The 11 Defendants' Motion To Dismiss, Or In the Alternative, To Stay Proceedings and Compel Arbitration is GRANTED, insofar as the Court directs that the Plaintiff proceed to arbitrate all claims in this action in accordance with the procedures outlined in the parties' agreement. Pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 3, the Court STAYS this action in its entirety pending the parties' submission of the disputes herein to arbitration ; such stay shall remain in effect until the parties have submitted the matter to arbitration, at which time the stay shall automatically lift and the case shall be dismissed. It appearing that there will be no need for further judicial administration of this case, the Clerk of the Court shall close this case, by Judge Marcia S. Krieger on 03/05/2012.(wjc, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Honorable Marcia S. Krieger
Civil Action No. 11-cv-00348-MSK-KLM
DAVID B. CALDWELL,
RENT A CENTER, INC. – 192; and
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION
THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to the Defendants’ Motion To
Dismiss, Or In the Alternative, To Stay Proceedings and Compel Arbitration (# 11). The pro se
Plaintiff has filed no response to this motion.
The Plaintiff’s pro se Complaint alleges that he was formerly an employee of Defendant
Rent-A-Center, and that the Defendants unlawfully discriminated against him on the basis of a
disability in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; on the
basis of his race in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; and in retaliation for his
having made a worker’s compensation claim in violation of C.R.S. § 8-40-101 et seq.
The Defendants move to compel the Plaintiff to arbitrate his claims according to the
terms of a written agreement the parties entered into on or about July 30, 2008. That agreement
states that “the Company and I mutually consent to the resolution by arbitration of all claims or
controversies . . . arising out of or related to . . . the termination of my assignment/employment.”
The agreement extends to Rent-A-Center, as well as to “its officers, directors, employees, or
agents in their capacity as such,” and thus, the Defendants argue, runs to Defendant Hanagan as
well. The agreement states that claims subject to arbitration include “tort claims for
discrimination (including, but not limited to, race, sex, . . . worker’s compensation, . . . handicap
Under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., the Court may compel parties to
arbitrate a dispute upon finding: (i) the parties entered into a valid arbitration agreement; and (ii)
the relevant dispute falls within the terms of that agreement. See e.g. National American Ins. Co.
v. SCOR Reinsurance Co., 362 F.3d 1288, 1290 (10th Cir. 2004). The Defendants here contend
that the written arbitration agreement tendered here is valid, and the Plaintiff has not offered any
argument in response. On such a record, this Court can only observe that the document tendered
by the Defendants, on its face, appears to be a valid contract, insofar as it recites specific terms
embodying agreements by both sides, acknowledges the existence of consideration exchanged by
the parties, and is signed by the Plaintiff. Accordingly, the Court finds that, at least facially, the
arbitration agreement appears to be valid and enforceable (although the Court does not make any
findings as to the validity of any of the provisions contained therein were such provisions to be
The Court further finds that, in the absence of any opposition, the Plaintiff’s claims fall
within the terms of the agreement to arbitrate. Although the Court has some reservations as to
the precise meaning of the phrase “tort claims of discrimination,” and whether that phrase can be
understood to encompass claims of discrimination cognizable under federal statutes, it has no
argument to that effect in front of it and it will not make that argument sua sponte on the
Plaintiff’s behalf. A colorable interpretation of that phrase would bring within it all of the claims
asserted by the Plaintiff here and thus, in the absence of opposition, the Court finds that the
Plaintiff’s claims fall within the scope of the agreement to arbitrate.
Accordingly, the Defendants’ Motion (# 11) is GRANTED, insofar as the Court directs
that the Plaintiff proceed to arbitrate all claims in this action in accordance with the procedures
outlined in the parties’ agreement. Pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 3, the Court STAYS1 this action in its
entirety pending the parties’ submission of the disputes herein to arbitration; such stay shall
remain in effect until the parties have submitted the matter to arbitration, at which time the stay
shall automatically lift and the case shall be dismissed. It appearing that there will be no need
for further judicial administration of this case, the Clerk of the Court shall close this case.
Dated this 5th day of March, 2012
BY THE COURT:
Marcia S. Krieger
United States District Judge
Contrary to the Defendants’ argument, this Court does not read Williams v. Imhoff, 203
F.3d 758, 764 (10th Cir. 2000), as standing for the proposition that “when all of a plaintiff’s
claims are arbitrable, a stay is not necessary, and the legal action should be dismissed.” Indeed,
in Williams, the court directed a stay of the proceedings pending arbitration in accordance with 9
U.S.C. § 3.
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