Summers v. Northrop Grumman Corporation
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 27 Motion to Enforce Stipulation; denying 28 Motion to Retain Title VII Rights; STAYING all proceedings pending the conclusion of the arbitration of plaintiff's claims. Signed by Judge Marvin J. Garbis on 11/20/2017. (c/m)(hmls, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
* CIVIL ACTION NO. MJG-17-866
NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: CASE STATUS
The Court has before it Defendant’s Motion To Enforce
Stipulation [ECF No. 27], Plaintiff’s Motion to Retain Title VII
Rights [ECF No. 28], and the materials submitted relating
Neither party has requested a hearing on the motion
and the Court does not find that a hearing would be necessary.
On May 10,1 counsel for Plaintiff and counsel for Defendant
filed the Joint Stipulation To Stay Action Pending Arbitration
[ECF No. 14], agreeing to stay all proceedings in court and to
resolve all of Plaintiff’s claims in arbitration.
After discussion between counsel, the
Parties have agreed to proceed with final,
binding arbitration for all of Plaintiff’s
claims, including Plaintiff’s Title VII race
discrimination claim, pursuant to the
applicable procedure outlined in Defendant’s
All date references herein are to the year 2017.
Employee Mediation/Binding Arbitration
Program . . . .
Joint Stip. ¶ 8, ECF No. 14.
In response to the Joint Stipulation, on May 10, the date
it was filed, Court Ordered [ECF No. 15]:
that all proceedings in this matter
shall be stayed pending the conclusion of
the arbitration of Plaintiff's claims,
including Plaintiff's Title VII claim.
On June 19, Plaintiff filed a Motion to proceed without
counsel and Request for Court Appointed Attorney [ECF No. 16]
my attorney talked me into agreeing to
arbitration in hopes of a quick conclusion
to the matter via settlement. However, the
defendant chose not to negotiate a
settlement. I am deeply in debt and cannot
afford another attorney.
By Order [ECF No. 25] issued July 27, the Court denied
Plaintiffs’ request for appointed counsel.
By Joint Status
Report filed August 16 [ECF No. 26], the parties advised that
Plaintiff denies being subject to the stipulation to proceed in
arbitration regarding his Title VII claims.
Thus, Defendant has
filed the instant motion seeking to enforce the stipulation to
proceed in arbitration.
There has been no request for a hearing
regarding the instant motion.
Moreover, the Court finds the
record clear regarding the facts pertinent to the instant motion
and finds no need for further proceedings regarding the instant
Plaintiff does not deny that his counsel of record in fact
entered into the Stipulation To Stay Action Pending Arbitration
with counsel for Defendant.
Rather, he contends that he did not
authorize his attorney to agree to arbitration of the Title VII
claims. He states in this regard:
I wanted to contest the Defendant’s motion
in its entirety so that both my non-Title
VII and Title VII rights would be litigated
in court, which I paid for, but my attorney
talked me into agreeing to arbitration since
my attorney felt the court would uphold the
Defendant’s company policy for arbitration
of non-Title VII claims. However, I only
agreed to arbitration of the claims required
to be arbitrated per the Defendant’s company
policy which were the non-Title VII claims
included in the Defendant’s 4/14/17 motion
to compel arbitration. Accordingly,
Plaintiff motions the court to retain
Plaintiff’s right to litigate my Title VII
claim since I (Plaintiff) never agreed to
arbitration of my Title VII claim, I
promptly terminated my relationship with my
attorney when I found out he agreed to
arbitration of my Title VII claim, and I
feel my attorney did not have the authority
to agree to arbitration of my Title VII
claim since my agreement with my attorney
was for the sole purpose of pursuing
litigation against the Defendant.
Pl.’s Mot. 1, ECF No. 28.
Plaintiff’s attorney states in response:
Plaintiff’s contention that he did not
provide our office with the authority to
arbitrate his Title VII claim, see ECF Doc.
No. 31, is not accurate.
On April 27, 2017, in a lengthy
telephone conversation (approximately thirty
(30) minutes), our office spoke with
Plaintiff about this case, including whether
he should agree to arbitration of all
claims, including his Title VII claim.
Plaintiff ultimately agreed to stipulate to
arbitration of all claims, including his
Title VII claim.
Counsel’s Response to Court Order [ECF No. 33].
Plaintiff replied [ECF No. 34] to counsel’s response, denying
any recollection of agreeing to arbitrate and denying that he did
instruct his attorney to so stipulate.
The essence of the situation is that Plaintiff’s counsel did
in fact stipulate with Defendant’s counsel to arbitrate all of
There is no evidence of record or any
suggestion by Plaintiff that counsel did so while understanding
that the stipulation was contrary to Plaintiff’s instructions.
Even if Plaintiff’s denial of authorization is taken to be true,
there is no doubt that his counsel understood the communications
from Plaintiff to constitute authorization of the stipulation
Even if Plaintiff’s counsel erroneously interpreted
what Plaintiff said, that counsel entered the stipulation for
Plaintiff when acting for Plaintiff within the scope of counsel’s
authority to represent him in the law suit and Plaintiff is bound
by his counsel’s action.
See, e.g., Robinson v. Wix Filtration
Corp. LLC, 599 F.3d 403, 409 (4th Cir. 2010) (“As both the Supreme
Court and our circuit have consistently recognized, a party
voluntarily chooses his attorney as his representative in the
action, and, thus, he cannot later ‘avoid the consequences of the
acts or omissions of this freely selected agent.’” quoting Link v.
Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 633 (1962)).
There is no evidence nor
any suggestion of a basis upon which Plaintiff is not bound vis-àvis Defendant with regard to the stipulation.
Defendant’s Motion To Enforce Stipulation [ECF
No. 27] is GRANTED.
Plaintiff’s Motion to Retain Title VII Rights
[ECF No. 28] is DENIED.
All proceedings in this matter are stayed pending
the conclusion of the arbitration of Plaintiff’s
claims, including Plaintiff’s Title VII claim.
The parties shall inform the Court when the
arbitration has concluded. The Court shall retain
jurisdiction until such time.
SO ORDERED, this Monday, November 20, 2017.
Marvin J. Garbis
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?