United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
JEREMIAH HACKLER, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, Plaintiff,
R.T. MOORE CO., INC., an Indiana profit corporation, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss or, alternatively, Stay Proceedings and Compel
Arbitration (Doc. #18) filed on July 3, 2017. Plaintiff filed
a Response in Opposition (Doc. #24) on July 31, 2017, and
defendant filed a Reply (Doc. #27) on August 15, 2017. For
the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion to stay
proceedings and compel arbitration is granted and the motion
to dismiss is denied.
12, 2017, plaintiff Jeremiah Hackler (Hackler) filed a
Collective Action Complaint under the Fair Labor Standards
Act on behalf of himself and other similarly-situated
individuals (Doc. #1) against defendant R.T. Moore Co., Inc.
(Moore). The Complaint asserts that during plaintiff's
employment with Moore, plaintiff was not paid overtime and
minimum wage pay in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA). (Id. ¶ 1.)
was employed with Moore as a plumber intermittently from 2012
through 2015. (Id. ¶ 35.) In January 2015,
after a period of not being employed by Moore, Hackler
resubmitted an application for employment and was rehired.
(Doc. #18, ¶¶ 3-4.) On January 15, 2015, plaintiff
and Moore voluntarily entered into an Agreement to Arbitrate
Certain Disputes (the “Arbitration Agreement”).
(Id. ¶ 5; Doc. #18-1.) The Arbitration
Agreement outlines the process for resolving disputes between
Moore and its employees, and provides the following:
If any Dispute which is not resolved to your satisfaction
through informal means, and either you or the Company wish to
pursue the matter further, the Dispute must be referred to
mandatory binding arbitration to be administered by the
American Arbitration Association in accordance with its
Employment Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures
(“AAA Rules”) in effect at the time of the
initiation of the arbitration.
(Doc. #18-1, pp. 2-3.)
Arbitration Agreement provides that a party with a Dispute
shall provide written notice to the other party within six
months of the accrual of any claim. (Id. at 3.)
the Arbitration Agreement states:
[A]ny party with a Dispute must give written notice to the
other party within six months of the accrual of the claim;
otherwise the claim shall be void and deemed waived even if
there is a state or federal statute which would have given
more time to pursue the claim.
(Id.) The Arbitration Agreement also contains a
waiver of the right to bring and/or participate in a class
(or collective) action against Moore. (Id. at 7.)
Specifically, the provision provides:
To the fullest extent permitted by law, you hereby waive any
right to participate in a class action or to bring any claim
against the Company as part of a class. Any Dispute or
proceeding shall be pursued on an individual basis.
April 13, 2015, Moore terminated plaintiff's employment,
and on May 12, 2017, plaintiff brought the underlying
Complaint under the FLSA. (Doc. #1; Doc. #18, ¶¶
11-12.) Defendant now moves to dismiss or, alternatively, to
stay the proceedings and compel Hackler to arbitrate his
claims, asserting that the binding Arbitration Agreement
prevents Hackler from participating in this lawsuit. (Doc.
#18.) Specifically, Moore asserts that: (i) Hackler failed to
submit his FLSA claims to final and binding arbitration prior
to filing a lawsuit against Moore in federal court; (ii)
Hackler failed to provide Moore with a minimum of six
months' notice of accrual of Hackler's claim against
Moore and therefore Hackler's claim is void and waived;
and (iii) Hackler improperly brought a collective action
against Moore. (Id. ¶ 13.) Hackler filed a
Response in Opposition only challenging the provision
requiring written notice within six months of the accrual of
plaintiff's claim. (Doc. #24, p. 7.) ...