and submitted February 7, 2017.
County Circuit Court CV15090050 Donald B. Bowerman, Judge pro
A. Crabtree argued the cause for appellants. With him on the
briefs were April Upchurch Fredrickson and Jackson Lewis P.C.
Rebecca Cambreleng argued the cause for respondent. On the
brief were Micah D. Fargey and Fargey Law PC.
DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Aoyagi,
[290 Or. 40] Case Summary:
appeal from the trial court's order denying their motion
to compel arbitration of plaintiff's claims, which arose
out of plaintiff's work for defendants as an insurance
sales agent. The trial court denied the motion on the basis
that factfnding was necessary to determine whether the
arbitration provision at issue was enforceable under ORS
36.620(5), which provides that a "written arbitration
agreement entered into between an employer and employee * * *
is voidable and may not be enforced by a court" unless
certain notice requirements are met. Defendants argue that,
because the arbitration agreement at issue is subject to the
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), the Oregon statute is
preempted because it imposes requirements solely on
arbitration clauses rather than contracts in general.
Held: The trial court erred because the FAA preempts
enforcement of ORS 36.620(5). Under the FAA, states may not
invalidate arbitration clauses based on notice requirements
placed specifcally on arbitration clauses. Because of the
trial court's error, it did not undertake the proper
analysis and must do so on remand.
DEHOOG, P. JUDGE.
a corporation and its employees, appeal from the trial
court's order denying their motion to compel arbitration
of plaintiff's claims and stay judicial proceedings. For
the reasons that follow, we conclude that the court erred,
reverse, and remand for the trial court to consider
defendants' motion under the proper framework.
worked for defendants as an insurance sales agent. The
parties dispute whether plaintiff was an employee or an
independent contractor, but, as we explain below, that
question is immaterial to the present appeal. After
defendants terminated their relationship with plaintiff, he
filed this action in the circuit court, alleging employment
discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract, and other
responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration of
plaintiff's claims pursuant to the Federal Arbitration
Act (FAA) and, alternatively, under Oregon law.
Defendants relied on an attached copy of
defendant-corporation's standard "Agent's
Agreement, " which plaintiff and a representative of
defendant-corporation had signed, and which included the
following arbitration language:
"[A]ny claim or controversy relating to or arising out
of the relationship between the Agent and the Companies, this
Agreement (and/or any agreement superseded by this
Agreement), or the termination of this Agreement, whether the
parties' rights and remedies are governed or created by
contract law, tort law, common law or otherwise, or by
federal, state or local statute, legislation, rule or
regulations, shall be resolved exclusively by binding
arbitration in Bloomington, Illinois (unless otherwise
provided by law), by one arbitrator selected by the Companies
and the Agent, all in accordance with the commercial
arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association
then in effect."
argued that, to the extent that plaintiff challenged the
arbitration provision itself, the arbitrator, not the court,
should decide that challenge, because the parties had
"clearly and unmistakably agreed to allow the arbitrator
to [290 Or. 42] ...