Bray v. Reliable Life Insurance Company
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the defendants motion to stay [Doc. # 12 ] is denied. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 10/22/14. (KJS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
LARISA V. BRAY,
RELIABLE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY,
Case No. 4:14-CV-01390-CEJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on defendant’s motion to stay this case
pending arbitration. Plaintiff brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA0, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., claiming that defendant discriminated against her
based on her age, disability, and national origin. The plaintiff has not responded to
the motion to stay, and the time allowed for doing so has expired.
Bray was employed by United Insurance Company of America as a claims
adjuster beginning on January 7, 2013. When Bray began her employment, she
signed an Arbitration Agreement that contained the following provision:
[A]ll disputes related to Employee’s employment by Employer (or any
affiliate of Employer), or the termination of that employment
(excepting only the following: (1) charges filed with the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or state fair
employment practices agency, for so long as said charges remain
under investigation, and (2) claims brought by the Employer for
injunctive relief and/or breach of covenant not to compete), shall be
settled by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration
Association (“AAA”) pursuant to the AAA’s National Rules for
Resolution of Employment Disputes (“AAA Rules”), as amended from
time to time.
The Arbitration Agreement also provides that arbitration is the “exclusive
method of resolving all disputes relating to Employee’s employment with
Employer or the termination of that employment.”
In its motion, United argues that Bray is required to submit her claims
of employment discrimination to arbitration and that this action should be
“[T]he decision to grant a stay . . . is ‘generally left to the sound discretion of
district courts.’” Ryan v. Gonzales, 133 S. Ct. 696, 708 (2013) (quoting Schriro v.
Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007)). “A district court has broad discretion to stay
proceedings when appropriate to control its docket.” Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, 446 F.3d 808, 816 (8th Cir. 2006). “[I]n considering a motion for
stay, a district court should consider both the interest of judicial economy and the
potential prejudice or hardship to the parties.” Krakowski v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 927
F. Supp. 2d 769, 774 (E.D. Mo. 2013). “The proponent of a stay bears the burden
of establishing its need.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708 (1997).
Here, to determine whether United has met its burden of demonstrating that
the interest of judicial economy and the potential prejudice or hardship to the
parties counsel issuing a stay, the Court considers United’s assertion that
arbitration is both required and binding.
This assertion is not contested by Bray
and, indeed, it is supported by the language of the agreement. Under terms of the
Arbitration Agreement, the submission of Bray’s employment discrimination claims
against United to arbitration is mandatory. United cites a provision of the Federal
Arbitration Act (FAA) in support of request for a stay. That provision states that
where a plaintiff brings suit in federal court on an issue that is “referable” to
arbitration, the court hearing that case “shall on application of one of the parties
stay the trial of the action . . . .” 9 U.S.C. § 3. The arbitration agreement in this
case does not allow Bray to bring a suit in the district court only to have that suit
“referred” to arbitration. Rather, the agreement provides that arbitration is Bray’s
exclusive remedy. Thus, § 3 of the FAA is not applicable here.
The Court finds that United has failed to justify its request that this action be
stayed. Pausing this litigation only to dismiss it once the arbitration concludes is
not in the interest of judicial economy.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the defendant’s motion to stay [Doc. #12] is
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 22nd day of October, 2014.
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