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Spinelli v. Dascor Corporation

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

July 30, 2019

DASCOR CORPORATION, a Florida Corporation, Defendant.



         THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant Dascor Corporation's (“Dascor”) Motion to Dismiss and/or Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings, ECF No. [13] (the “Motion”). The Court has carefully considered the Motion, the opposing submission, the record in this case and the applicable law, and is otherwise fully advised.[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Doreen Spinelli (“Spinelli”) brings a collective action against her former employer and alleges that Dascor violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., by failing to pay her, and all others similarly situated who are or were employed in various hourly paid positions, the federally mandated wage for overtime. ECF No. [1] (“Complaint”), ¶¶ 1, 12. According to the Complaint, Spinelli was employed by Dascor as an hourly wage office administrator between July 2010 and August 31, 2018. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. Spinelli alleges that during this period she regularly worked in excess of forty hours per week without receiving overtime compensation. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. Spinelli seeks recovery of unpaid wages and liquidated damages pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and seeks certification of a collective action. Id. ¶¶ 1-2.

         In the instant Motion, Dascor argues that Spinelli entered into a valid agreement to arbitrate disputes, an arbitrable issue exists and that Dascor did not waive its arbitration rights. ECF No. [13] at 3-4. Dascor requests that the Court compel arbitration of Spinelli's FLSA claim. The Parties do not dispute that on March 11, 2011, Spinelli signed an arbitration agreement provided by her employer, Dascor. ECF No. [13-1] (“Arbitration Agreement” or “Agreement”) at 5. The Agreement requires arbitration of claims regarding the enforceability of the Agreement, and claims arising under federal statutes. The Agreement states:

As a condition of my employment (or continued employment, as the case may be) with the Company, I hereby WAIVE MY RIGHT TO SUE the Company, and the Company hereby waives its right to sue me, for any claim or cause of action arising out of or relating to my employment relationship with the Company or the termination thereof. In lieu of suing, any such legal dispute that may arise, shall be instead be submitted for final and binding resolution by a private, impartial arbitrator. I agree that such an arbitration shall be governed by the Employment Dispute Resolution Rules of the American Arbitration Association. I understand that a copy of these rules is available for my review.

         Covered Claims:

I understand that this Agreement includes, but is not limited to the following potential claims:
1. Any dispute regarding the arbitrability of any such claim;
2. Any dispute regarding this Agreement, including but not limited to its enforceability, scope or terms;
3. Any claim that could be asserted in any State or Federal Court or before an administrative agency, including without limitation, claims for breach of any contract or covenant, express or implied; assault, battery invasion of privacy, defamation of character, infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with contract, or other tort claims, including any claim that I was injured or damaged because of the negligence of the company or any of its employees; and claims for wrongful discharge and/or for violation of any federal, state or local law, statute, ordinance or regulation, or common law.
4. Any claim for discrimination including but not limited to discrimination because of sex, pregnancy, race, national or ethnic origin, religion, creed, marital status, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability or medical condition or other characteristics protected by statute;
5. Any claim that I have been retaliated or discriminated against for opposing the violation of any federal, state or local statute or ordinance, including but not limited to: the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the state workers' compensation law or any “whistleblower” law, 42 U.S.C. § 1981; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Equal Pay Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act; the Florida Whistler blower Protection Act (Sections 448.101 - 448.105, Florida Statutes); and/or any other federal, state or local laws, ordinances, or regulations, including but not limited to those prohibiting employment discrimination (and specifically including but not limited to any claim of sex discrimination or sexual harassment or retaliation), such as the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.; and
6. Any claim for commissions or wages.

Id. at 1-2.

         Spinelli filed a Response in Opposition, ECF No. [21], contending that the Agreement is unenforceable due to a separate provision regarding the allocation between the Parties of fees and expenses associated with ...

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