United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
JASON PRICE and CLINTON SHAW, Individually and on Behalf of Those Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
SANTANDER CONSUMER USA INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Santander Consumer USA Inc.'s
Motion to Compel Individual Arbitration (Doc. 13). For the
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's Motion to Compel Individual Arbitration.
a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA). Plaintiffs Jason Price and Clinton Shaw allege that
Defendant Santander Consumer USA Inc. violated the FLSA by
failing to pay Plaintiffs, and those similarly situated, for
overtime work. Doc. 1, Pls.' Compl., ¶¶ 33-35,
40. Defendant employs individuals as Resolution Specialists
and treats them as exempt salaried employees. Doc. 16,
Def.'s Answer, ¶¶ 14, 23. Plaintiffs allege
that, as Resolution Specialists, they were paid by the hour,
and they regularly worked more than forty hours per week.
Doc. 1, Pls.' Compl., ¶¶ 23-24. Despite this
overtime work, however, Plaintiffs claim that Defendant
failed to pay Plaintiffs one and one-half times their regular
rate in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 207. Id. at
¶ 33. Accordingly, Plaintiffs bring this collective
action on behalf of themselves and all other similarly
situated employees of Defendant. Id. at ¶ 40.
Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Individual Arbitration
(Doc. 13). Plaintiffs filed a Response (Doc. 18), and
Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 21), as well as a Supplemental
Appendix to its Motion (Doc. 23). Subsequently, Plaintiffs
obtained leave of Court to file a sur-reply to
Defendant's Motion (Doc. 27). The Motion is now ripe for
the Court's review.
enacting the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), “Congress .
. . expressed a strong policy favoring arbitration before
litigation . . . .” J.S. & H. Constr. Co. v.
Richmond Cty. Hosp. Auth., 473 F.2d 212, 214-15 (5th
Cir. 1973). Under the FAA, “[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 . . . shall be
valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds
as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any
contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. The Fifth Circuit follows
a two-step procedure to decide whether to compel arbitration:
(1) “determine whether the parties agreed to arbitrate
the dispute in question, ” and (2) determine whether
any external legal constraints preclude arbitration of the
dispute. Webb v. Investacorp, Inc., 89 F.3d 252,
257-58 (5th Cir. 1996) (per curiam). A party seeking to
compel arbitration must only prove the existence of an
agreement by a preponderance of the evidence. Grant v.
Houser, 469 Fed.Appx. 310, 315 (5th Cir. 2012) (per
to determine if evidence in support of a motion to compel
arbitration is admissible, courts apply a similar standard as
that applied to a motion for summary judgment. Galitski
v. Samsung Telecomm. Am., LLC, 2013 WL 6330645, at *1
n.1 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 5, 2013). That is, the evidence must
comply with the Federal Rules of Evidence and be based on
personal knowledge. Id.
moves the Court to compel individual arbitration and dismiss
the lawsuit with prejudice. Doc. 21, Def.'s Reply to
Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Mot. Compel Indiv. Arbitration,
10. Since the parties dispute both the existence of an
arbitration agreement and whether Plaintiffs may proceed
collectively, the Court will address: (1) whether to compel
arbitration of the claims; (2) whether Plaintiffs must
arbitrate individually; and (3) whether to dismiss or stay
Whether to Compel Arbitration of the Claims
the Court must determine whether the parties agreed to
arbitrate the dispute at issue by considering whether the
parties have a valid agreement to arbitrate and whether the
dispute falls within the scope of the agreement.
Webb, 89 F.3d at 258. If the answer to both of those
questions is yes, then the Court must consider whether any
external legal constraints foreclose arbitration.
Id. Neither party contends that the dispute falls
outside the scope of the alleged arbitration agreement, nor