DEWEY EDWARDS, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff - Appellant
DOORDASH, INCORPORATED, Defendant-Appellee
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
WIENER, ELROD, and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges.
H. SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judge:
is a California company that provides food-delivery service
by using independent contractors it calls Dashers. A Dasher
named Dewey Edwards brought suit against the company and
sought conditional class certification. The district court,
concluding there was an arbitration agreement with a valid
delegation clause, granted DoorDash's motion to compel
arbitration and dismissed Edwards's claims without
addressing the class certification motion. We AFFIRM.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
customers in over two hundred cities can use a mobile
application to order food from certain restaurants. A Dasher
will deliver the order to the customer. DoorDash requires
Dashers to sign an Independent Contractor Agreement
("ICA"). The ICA that Edwards signed contains this
Contractor and Company agree that final and binding
arbitration will be the exclusive means of resolving any
disputes between Contractor and Company. Any such disputes
shall be resolved by pursuant [sic] to the commercial rules
of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and such
arbitration shall be held in Palo Alto, California. Judgment
on any award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any
court having jurisdiction over the award. Contractor and
Company agree to bring any disputes in arbitration on an
individual basis only and not as a class or other collective
action basis. Accordingly, there will be no right or
authority for any dispute to be brought, heard or arbitrated
as a class or other collective action. This class and
collective action waiver shall not be severable from this
Agreement in any case in which the dispute is filed as such a
class or collective action and a civil court of competent
jurisdiction finds that this waiver is unenforceable. In such
instance, the class or collective action must be litigated in
a civil court of competent jurisdiction.
ICA also includes this choice-of-law provision: "This
Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance
with the laws of the State of California without reference to
the conflict-of-laws principles thereunder."
filed suit against DoorDash in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA") violations. He also moved
for conditional certification of a class of similarly
situated individuals nationwide on the same day. In response,
DoorDash filed both an emergency motion to stay the
conditional certification and a motion to compel individual
arbitration and dismiss the suit. The magistrate judge who
was referred the case partially granted DoorDash's
motion, stating the arbitration issue would be considered
first and the certification issue later. Edwards objected,
but his objection was overruled.
an evidentiary hearing and supplemental briefing, the
magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation that the
motion to dismiss should be granted and Edwards should be
compelled to arbitrate his claims. The district court agreed.
Edwards timely appealed.
appeal, Edwards has two primary contentions. First, he argues
the district court erred in deciding the arbitrability
question before class certification. Second, he argues the
district court erred in enforcing the arbitration agreement.
Before addressing each argument, we consider our
Whether this court has appellate jurisdiction
categorized his appeal as interlocutory even though the suit
was dismissed in order for arbitration to proceed.
Interlocutory appeals of orders compelling arbitration are
prohibited. 9 U.S.C. § 16(b). What is permitted, though,
is an appeal of a final decision regarding arbitration.
Id. § 16(a)(3). A final decision is one that
"ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing
more for the court to do but execute the judgment."
Green Tree Servicing, ...