Samaan v. General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc.
ORDER denying Plaintiff's 15 Motion to Remove Matter from Arbitration. Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (JOwe)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 11-13869
HONORABLE DENISE PAGE HOOD
GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO
REMOVE MATTER FROM ARBITRATION
On May 31, 2012, an Order was entered granting Defendant’s Motion to
Dismiss the matter to proceed with arbitration, in light of the parties’ agreement to
arbitrate the matter. (Doc. No. 14) The action before the Court was dismissed and
closed, but the Court retained jurisdiction to confirm, vacate or correct any arbitration
award issued. The matter thereafter proceeded to arbitration, but no arbitration award
has been issued.
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se1, filed the instant motion asserting that the
arbitration cannot resolve all the issues he wants to raise. This matter is before the
Court on Plaintiff Said Samaan’s Motion to Remove Matter from Arbitration.
Defendant General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. opposes the motion.
The original Qui Tam Complaint was filed under seal on September 26, 2011
by Plaintiff Said Samaan under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733 and
the Michigan Whistleblowers’ Act, M.C.L. § 15.361 et seq. An Amended Complaint
was filed on January 4, 2012, deleting the False Claims Act claim and the matter was
unsealed on February 6, 2012. The Amended Complaint alleges the following
counts: Retaliatory Discharge of Plaintiff in Violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h) (Count
I); Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, M.C.L. §§ 15 and 15.362 (Count II);
Retaliation in Violation of Michigan Public Policy (Count III); Violation of
Employment Age Discrimination Laws, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. and Elliot-Larsen
Act, M.C.L. § 37.2102 et seq. (Count IV).
Samaan was employed by General Dynamics from February 22, 1977 until
June 2011 as a Senior Engineering Specialist. (Am. Comp., ¶¶ 4, 6) Samaan asserts
Plaintiff’s counsel of record is James C. Klemanski. He may have
withdrawn from representing Plaintiff during arbitration, but no order has been
entered withdrawing Mr. Klemanski as counsel for Plaintiff on the Court’s docket.
that General Dynamics had filed false claims against the U.S. Army, making
misrepresentations regarding results from shock and vibration testing. (Am. Comp.,
¶ 7) Samaan made repeated objections to General Dynamics and demanded that
General Dynamics provide refunds to the U.S. Army for the fraudulent testing and
misrepresentations. (Am. Comp., ¶ 7) Samaan claims General Dynamics retaliated
against him for his efforts to correct the false claims by suspending and subsequently
terminating Samaan with a younger, less experienced person. (Am. Comp., ¶ 8)
After objecting to the use of improper tests which failed to comply with the
U.S. Army’s standards, Samaan filed a formal claim of data misrepresentation, fraud
and retaliation to General Dynamic’s Human Resources Department in the fall of
2010. (Am. Comp., ¶ 40)
Samaan’s objections continued to be ignored. (Am.
Comp., ¶ 41) In early 2011, Samaan asserts he began experiencing severe retaliation
for his complaints.
(Am. Comp., ¶ 43)
Samaan received poor performance
evaluations in January 2011, including only “satisfactory” in certain areas and
“failure” in other areas, the lowest evaluation he had received in thirty-four years of
(Am. Comp., ¶ 44)
Samaan asserts he was told that his job
performance reviews would improve if he would “forget” about the testing
misrepresentation and fraud claims he has raised. (Am. Comp., ¶ 45)
Samaan continued to raise the fraud issues, which was referred to by the
President of General Dynamics to the General Counsel in March 2011, who found no
issues with General Dynamic’s actions. (Am. Comp., ¶¶ 48-50) In May and June
2011, Samaan contacted the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Test Center (“ATC”) and
reported his concerns. (Am. Comp., ¶ 51) The liaison for the contract confirmed to
Samaan that the testing methods and standards were invalid and not according to the
contractual military standard. (Am. Comp., ¶ 53) Samaan immediately contacted
various General Dynamics personnel, including a manager, a director and the General
Counsel, informing them that the liaison concurred with Samaan’s claims. (Am.
Comp., ¶ 54) The U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Command (“TACOM”) launched
an investigation based on Samaan’s complaints in June 2011. (Am. Comp., ¶ 55)
General Dynamics increased the harassment and retaliation against Samaan. (Am.
Comp., ¶ 56) Human Resources contacted Samaan on June 9, 2011 demanding to
know why Samaan had contacted the ATC and was placed on indefinite suspension
without pay pending further investigation. (Am. Comp., ¶ 57) Samaan was notified
on June 20, 2011 that Human Resources would be recommending termination. (Am.
Comp., ¶ 59) Samaan felt compelled to resign on July 1, 2011 because of Samaan’s
fear of serious financial harm that would result from termination. (Am. Comp., ¶ 60)
As noted above, the parties agreed to arbitrate the matter, but now Samaan
seeks to remove the matter from arbitration. General Dynamics opposes the motion.
The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 2 states:
A written provision in . . . a contract evidencing a transaction involving
commerce to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of
such contract . . ., or the refusal to perform the whole or any part thereof,
or an agreement in writing to submit to arbitration an existing
controversy arising out of such a contract, transaction, or refusal, shall
be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist
at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.
9 U.S.C. § 2. Section 1 of the FAA provides the sole exception to the enforceability
of arbitration agreements–that Section 2 “shall [not] apply to contracts of employment
of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or
interstate commerce.” 9 U.S.C. § 1; See, Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Adams, 532 U.S.
105 (2001); Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp., 500 U.S. 20 (1991).
The Sixth Circuit has reiterated the strong presumption in favor of arbitration
on more than one occasion. See, e.g., Stout v. J.D. Byrider, 228 F.3d 709, 714 (6th
Cir. 2001) (stating that the FAA promotes a “strong federal policy in favor of
arbitration” and “was designed to override judicial reluctance to enforce arbitration
agreements, to relieve court congestion, and to provide parties with speedier and less
costly alternative litigation”); Haskins, 230 F.3d at 235 (“[T]here is ‘a liberal federal
policy favoring arbitration agreements, notwithstanding any state substantive or
procedural policies to the contrary.’”); Willis v. Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., 948 F.2d
305, 311 (6th Cir. 1991) (“Congress passed the FAA to ensure that courts honor the
contractual agreement of parties who choose to resolve their disputes by
arbitration.”). The Sixth Circuit stated that “[c]ourts are to examine the language of
the [Arbitration Agreement] in light of the strong federal policy in favor of
arbitration.” Stout, 228 F.3d at 714. Further, “any ambiguities in the [Arbitration
Agreement] or doubts as to the parties’ intentions should be resolved in favor of
Courts have repeatedly applied the same principles governing arbitrability of
agreements between an employer and employee to arbitrate employment-related
disputes, finding such agreements are enforceable. Gilmer, 500 U.S. at 20, 26, 31 (an
employment discrimination claim under the ADEA); Mazera v. Varsity Ford
Management Services, LLC, 565 F.3d 997 (6th Cir. 2009).
In deciding whether to compel arbitration of a federal statutory claim, a court
initially considers whether the statutory claim is generally subject to compulsory
arbitration. Floss v. Ryan Family Steak House, 211 F.3d 306, 311 (6th Cir. 2000).
If the statutory claim is not exempt from mandatory arbitration, the court next
considers whether the parties have executed a valid arbitration agreement and, if so,
whether the statutory claim falls within the scope of that agreement. See Mitsubishi
Motors Corp. v. Soler Chrysler Plymouth, Inc., 473 U.S. 614, 628 (1985) (stating that
courts should consider whether the parties have agreed to arbitrate a federal statutory
claim and whether that claim is generally subject to compulsory arbitration). Once
it has been determined that a statutory claim falls within the scope of the arbitration
agreement, it is be enforced absent a showing of fraud, duress, mistake, or some other
ground upon which a contract may be voided. See Haskins v. Prudential Ins. Co. of
Am., 230 F.3d 231, 239 (6th Cir. 2000); Beauchamp v. Great West Life Assur. Co.,
918 F. Supp. 1091, 1098 (E.D. Mich. 1996).
In this case, the parties agreed to arbitrate the matter and have proceeded to
such. The Court’s order indicates it will retain jurisdiction for the purpose of
confirming, vacating or correcting any Arbitration award or to enforce the parties’
arbitration agreement under 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16. Since there is no award yet, the Court
does not have jurisdiction to review Plaintiff’s request, as stated in the Order.
Plaintiff has not submitted any support for his request to remove the matter from an
agreed-to arbitration. The FAA only provides that the Court has jurisdiction to
review an award or enforce the agreement to arbitrate, not to remove the matter from
Arbitration once the parties proceed to such. The Court has no authority to review
the merits of the issues before the arbitrator.
For the reasons set forth above,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Remove Matter from Arbitration
(Doc. No. 15) is DENIED.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
United States District Judge
Dated: September 29, 2014
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of
record on September 29, 2014, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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