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Green v. Infosys, Ltd.

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

February 26, 2018

ERIN GREEN
v.
INFOSYS, LTD.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMOS L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Infosys, Ltd.'s (“Infosys”) Motion to Compel Arbitration and Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Dkt. #9). After reviewing the relevant pleadings and motion, the Court finds that the motion should be granted in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Erin Green (“Green”) is an experienced attorney. Sometime before October 2011, Green sought employment with Infosys. On September 17, 2011, Infosys sent Green an offer of employment via email (“Offer Email”). Plaintiff responded via email on September 19, 2011, that he accepted the offer. Green started with Infosys on October 17, 2011, and signed a Mutual Arbitration Agreement (the “Agreement”) in person, as a condition of his employment on October 20, 2011. The Agreement states

We agree to arbitrate before a neutral arbitrator any and all existing or future disputes or claims between Employee and Infosys, that arise out of or relate to Employee's recruitment, employment or separation from employment with Infosys, . . . including, but not limited to the following claims: . . . claims for discrimination, harassment or retaliation, whether on the basis [of] age, sex, race, national origin, religion, disability or any other unlawful basis.

(Dkt. #9, Exhibit 1 at p. 22). On June 28, 2016, Infosys terminated Green.

         On June 19, 2017, Green sued Infosys for (1) depriving him of his equal right to work because of race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, (2) retaliation based on his complaints of race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, (3) discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1 et seq., and (4) retaliation based on his complaint of race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000 e-1 et seq. (Dkt. #1 at pp. 21-22). Because of the Agreement, on August 18, 2017, Infosys filed its Motion to Compel Arbitration and to Dismiss Green's Amended Complaint (Dkt. #9). On October 2, 2017, Green filed his response, including a Motion to Strike Portions of the Declaration of Rohit Sharma (Dkt. #18). Infosys replied on October 9, 2017 (Dkt. #19). Green filed his reply (Dkt. #20) and an amended sur-reply[1] on October 12, 2017 (Dkt. #21).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “The 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. Grp., 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 arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement has been signed.” Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218 (1985).

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff asks the Court to deny the motion because he argues the FAA does not govern the Agreement, and even if the FAA does apply, the Agreement is not a valid contract. Further, Green asserts that, if the Court agrees that the claims should be arbitrated, it asks the Court to abate the current case as opposed to dismissing it. Finally, Plaintiff asks the Court to strike certain portions of Defendant's supporting evidence. The Court addresses each of Plaintiff's concerns in turn.

         1. The Governance of the FAA

         Green argues that the FAA does not govern the transaction because Infosys did not prove that any commerce is involved. Infosys maintains that because this is an employment contract, it falls under the umbrella of the FAA's broad interpretation of commerce. Infosys further asserts that Plaintiff's own complaint demonstrates that he frequently traveled throughout the United States while working for Infosys, which proves that commerce is involved in the transaction.

         The FAA is applicable to “[a] written provision in any . . . contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract or transaction.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. The FAA defines commerce as “commerce among the several States or with foreign nations. . . .” 9 U.S.C. § 1. Additionally, the Supreme Court further interpreted the phrase “involving commerce” as “the functional equivalent of ‘affecting, ' . . . [which] signals an intent to exercise Congress' commerce power to the full.” Allied-Bruce Terminix Cos. v. Dobson, 513 U.S. 265, 274, 277 (1995). The Supreme Court also interpreted “evidencing a transaction” to mean that the transaction turns out, in fact, to have involved interstate commerce. Id. at ...


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