United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MICHELLE M. THICK
DOLGENCORP OF TEXAS, INC.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Stay Pending
Action and to Compel Arbitration (Dkt. #3). Having considered
the pleadings, the Court finds the motion should be granted.
Michelle Thick (“Plaintiff”) worked for Defendant
Dolgencorp of Texas, Inc. (“Dollar General”) from
November 2014 until Dollar General terminated her employment
on April 4, 2015. Plaintiff filed suit on September 20, 2016,
alleging that Dollar General discriminated against her
because of her disability in violation of the American with
Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (Dkt. #1). Dollar General
contends that Plaintiff's claims are subject to the
Dollar General Employee Arbitration Agreement (the
“Agreement”) and should be abated until the
completion of arbitration. Plaintiff states that she
“does not believe she ever viewed; was informed of; or
was presented” the Agreement (Dkt. #4 at p. 5).
Agreement provides that Plaintiff agrees to participate in
binding arbitration and that:
with the exception of certain excluded claims described
below, any legal claims or disputes that you may have against
Dollar General, its parent and subsidiary corporations,
employees, officers and directors arising out of your
employment with Dollar General or termination of employment
with Dollar General (“Covered Claim” or
“Covered Claims”) will be addressed in the manner
described in this Agreement. You also understand that any
Covered Claims that Dollar General may have against you
related to your employment will be addressed in the manner
described in this Agreement.
the Agreement, Covered Claims include claims alleging
violations of “state and federal laws prohibiting
discrimination, harassment, and retaliation . . . claims for
wrongful termination.” The Agreement further states
that Plaintiff expressly waives the right to file a lawsuit
in court against Dollar General asserting any Covered Claims.
Agreement contains an acknowledgment box including
Plaintiff's name, the last four digits of her social
security number, her initials and is dated November 13, 2014.
The acknowledgment box is checked, and states “I agree
to the terms of the Agreement. I understand and acknowledge
that by checking this box, both Dollar General and I will be
bound by the terms of this Agreement.” The Agreement
also includes a box stating that Plaintiff may take up to
thirty days to review and consider the Agreement and
expressly opt out of the Agreement. This option in the
Agreement was not selected.
General's Human Resources Shared Services Supervisor,
Lynne Poole, provided an affidavit stating that based on her
records, on November 13, 2014, Plaintiff accepted the
Agreement through the online Express Hiring System. In order
to access the Agreement
Dollar General candidates, including Plaintiff, must enter
their unique login identification number, which is their
social security number . . . and their password, which is the
month and day of their birth . . . The candidate must then
immediately create a unique password containing up to sixteen
(16) numbers. The candidate must then provide their telephone
number and email address and must set up six (6) security
question and answers to be used if a password reset is
than stating that she does not recall ever electronically
acknowledging and agreeing to be bound or participate in the
Agreement, Plaintiff has not produced evidence that she did
not complete the Agreement.
October 13, 2016, Dollar General filed the pending motion to
stay and compel arbitration (Dkt. #3). On December 31,
Plaintiff filed a response (Dkt. #4). Dollar General replied
on November 16, 2016 (Dkt. #7).
Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) expresses a
strong national policy favoring arbitration of disputes, and
all doubts concerning the arbitrability of claims should be
resolved in favor of arbitration.” Wash. Mut. Fin.
Group, LLC v. Bailey, 364 F.3d 260, 263 (5th Cir. 2004).
The FAA, “leaves no place for the exercise of
discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that
district courts shall direct the parties to proceed to