Spears v. Mid-America Waffles, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re 48 Defendants Ozark Waffles, LLC, WH Capital, LLC and Waffle House, Inc's Motion to Stay Proceedings and Compel Arbitration. The parties must each file a supplemental brief addressing the delegation clause in the agree ments - not to exceed three pages and not to incorporate by reference any other briefs in this case - on or before June 8, 2012. No responses or replies are allowed. See Memorandum and Order for further details. Signed by District Judge Carlos Murguia on 6/1/2012. (jw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
JARED SPEARS AND LEE ELROD,
individually and on behalf of all others
MID-AMERICA WAFFLES, INC.
d/b/a WAFFLE HOUSE; OZARK
WAFFLES, LLC; WH CAPITAL, LLC;
WAFFLE HOUSE, INC.; DAVID HUFF;
MICHAEL CALEY; AND PEGGY CALEY, )
Case No. 11-2273-CM
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on Defendants Ozark Waffles, LLC, WH Capital, LLC and
Waffle House, Inc’s Motion to Stay Proceedings and Compel Arbitration (Doc. 48). The court has
reviewed the briefs at length, as well as the arbitration agreements. Plaintiffs make two general
arguments why the court should not send their claims to arbitration: (1) the agreements are ambiguous
and (2) they are unenforceable. Neither party, however, references the following provision in the
The Arbitrator, and not any federal, state, or local court or agency, shall have exclusive1
authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability,
enforceability or formation of this Agreement, including but not limited to any claim
that all or any part of this Agreement is void or voidable.
This provision nearly mirrors the delegation provision in Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson,
130 S. Ct. 2772, 2777 (2010). In Rent-A-Center, the Supreme Court considered a clause that
stated, “The Arbitrator . . . shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the .
Michelle Robinson’s agreement does not include the word “exclusive.”
. . enforceability . . . of this Agreement including, but not limited to any claim that all or any
part of this Agreement is void or voidable.” 130 S. Ct. at 2777. Like the plaintiffs in the
instant case, the Rent-A-Center plaintiff did not specifically challenge the validity of the
delegation provision itself. The Supreme Court held that because the plaintiff did not challenge
the delegation provision specifically, the Court must treat it as valid and let the arbitrator decide
any challenge to the validity of the agreement as a whole. Id. at 2779.
The court believes that Rent-A-Center is controlling and that the court should stay these
claims pending arbitration—at a minimum, arbitration over whether the agreements apply to
plaintiffs’ claims and are enforceable. Nevertheless, because the parties have not addressed the
issue, the court believes that it would be fair to give them the opportunity to do so.
The court therefore orders the parties to submit limited briefing on the issue of who
should decide whether the arbitration agreements are ambiguous and enforceable. Specifically,
the parties are ordered to each file a supplemental brief addressing the delegation clause in the
agreements—not to exceed three pages and not to incorporate by reference any other briefs in
this case—on or before June 8, 2012. No responses or replies are allowed.
IT IS THERFORE ORDERED that the parties must each file a supplemental brief addressing
the delegation clause in the agreements—not to exceed three pages and not to incorporate by reference
any other briefs in this case—on or before June 8, 2012. No responses or replies are allowed.
Dated this 1st day of June, 2012, at Kansas City, Kansas.
s/ Carlos Murguia
United States District Judge
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