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Brock v. Copart of Washington, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 27, 2019

APRIL J. BROCK, Plaintiff,
v.
COPART OF WASHINGTON, INC. a foreign business corporation, and JASON MUSANTE, an individual, Defendants.

          CRAIG A. CRISPIN ASHLEY A. MARTON Crispin Employment Lawyers Attorneys for Plaintiff

          JOHN A. BERG BRADLEY J. KRUPICKA Littler Mendelson, PC Attorneys for Defendants

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion (#7) to Compel Arbitration. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes the record is sufficiently developed for the Court to resolve Defendant's Motion without oral argument, GRANTS Defendants' Motion, and DISMISSES this matter without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are taken from the Complaint and the parties' filings related to Defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration.

         On August 14, 2001, Plaintiff applied for employment with Defendant Copart of Washington.

         On August 27, 2001, Defendant hired Plaintiff as a customer-service representative. On August 27, 2001, Plaintiff signed a document indicating that she had received, read, and agreed to be bound by the terms of Copart's Employee Handbook. On that same day Plaintiff also signed an Arbitration Agreement that provided:

I AGREE THAT ANY CONTROVERSY OR CLAIM ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANYWAY RELATING TO ANY ASPECT OF MY EMPLOYMENT WITH COPART, INCLUDING ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF ANY STATE OR FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS, OR OTHER LAWS AND STATUTES (INCLUDING CLAIMS FOR EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT), OR EXPRESS OR IMPLIED TERM OF EMPLOYMENT SHALL BE SETTLED BY ARBITRATION IN THE COUNTY AND STATE OF THE COMPANY FACILITY WHERE I WAS EMPLOYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES THEN IN EFFECT OF JUDICIAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION SERVICES (JAMS).
THE ARBITRATOR MAY GRANT INJUNCTIVE OR OTHER RELIEF IN SUCH DISPUTE OR CONTINGENCY. THE DECISION OF THE ARBITRATOR SHALL BE FINAL, CONCLUSIVE AND BINDING ON THE PARTIES TO THE ARBITRATION. JUDGMENT MAY BE ENTERED ON THE ARBITRATOR'S DECISION IN ANY COURT HAVING JURISDICTION.
THIS ARBITRATION CLAUSE CONSTITUTES A WAIVER OF EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO JURY TRIAL AND RELATES TO THE RESOLUTION OF ALL DISPUTES RELATED TO ALL ASPECTS OF THE EMPLOYER/EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE FOLLOWING CLAIMS:
i. ANY AND ALL CLAIMS FOR WRONGFUL DISCHARGE OF EMPLOYMENT; BREACH OF CONTRACT, BOTH EXPRESSED AND IMPLIED; BREACH OF THE COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING, BOTH EXPRESSED AND IMPLIED; NEGLIGENT OR INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT OR PROSPECTIVE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE; AND DEFAMATION; ii. ANY AND ALL CLAIMS FOR VIOLATION OF ANY FEDERAL, STATE, OR MUNICIPAL STATUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED
TO, TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964, THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1991, THE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1967, THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990, THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT, THE APPLICABLE STATE FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND/OR LABOR CODE.
iii. ANY AND ALL CLAIMS ARISING OUT OF ANY OTHER LAWS AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT OR EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION.

Decl. of Christine Arnold, Ex. 2 at 1-2.

         In 2006 Copart promoted Plaintiff to General Manager. Plaintiff “managed the operations of the auction yard, managed inventory and employee relations, prepared profit and loss reports, and was responsible for accounts payables, audit review, training and filling in for other positions as needed.” Compl. at ¶ 12.

         On August 7, 2015, Plaintiff was injured in a vehicle collision while traveling for business. After August 7, 2015, Plaintiff “was on an active workers' compensation claim and was on approved protected medical leave.” Compl. at ¶ 13. After August 2015 Plaintiff had periodic medical appointments for therapy and treatment for her injuries that required her to leave 20-to-30 minutes before the end of her regularly scheduled shift.

         In May 2016 Copart updated its Employee Handbook and amended the Arbitration Agreement to read as follows:

Except as it otherwise provides, the Company and I mutually agree to the resolution by arbitration of all claims or controversies, past, present or future, including without limitation, claims arising out of or related to my application for employment, employment, and/or the termination of my employment that the Company may have against me or that I may have against the Company and/or . . . (2) Company's officers, directors, employees, or agents in their capacity as such or otherwise.
* * *
This Agreement is intended to be as broad as legally permissible under the Federal Arbitration Act and to apply to the resolution of disputes that otherwise would be resolved in a court of law or before a forum other than arbitration. Unless specifically excluded below, this Agreement applies, without limitation, to any claims based upon or related to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation (including claims of post-employment defamation or retaliation), breach of a contract or covenant, fraud, negligence, personal injury, emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secrets, unfair competition, overtime, wages or other compensation, breaks and rest periods, seating, termination, tort claims, equitable claims, and all statutory and common law claims. The Agreement covers, without limitation, all claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Fair Credit Repo1iing Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, each as amended, any state or local statutes, if any, addressing the same or similar subjects, and any and all claims for violation of any federal, state or other governmental law, statute, regulation, or ordinance, except claims excluded in the section entitled “Claims Not Covered by the Agreement.”
Additionally, the Arbitrator, and not any federal, state, or local court or agency, shall have the exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, or formation of this Agreement.

Arnold Decl., Ex. 5 at 1.

         On June 21, 2016, at 11:49 a.m., Copart Human Resources Generalist Kallie Sirles emailed Plaintiff the updated Employee Handbook and Arbitration Agreement. At that time when an employee opened and accessed the Arbitration Agreement, the application instructed the employee to click on “radio buttons” and to “electronically sign” to indicate that the employee had read and agreed to the Arbitration Agreement. Arnold Decl. at ¶ 7. When an employee had accepted or declined all of the buttons directing the employee to sign, Copart's system generated an email attaching the electronically signed document to an email sent to both the employee and the human-resources representative who had sent the document. On June 21, 2016, at 12:57 p.m., Plaintiff used her unique email account to sign the Arbitration Agreement.

         Plaintiff alleges in her Complaint that her schedule adjustments for therapy and medical treatment were accommodated until April or May 2017, which is when Defendant Jason Musante became her regional supervisor. Plaintiff alleges Musante called her while she was in therapy, began to “excessively supervis[e] and . . . find minor errors in [Plaintiff's] performance, ” gave ...


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