United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
LARRY M. GRANT, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
JP MORGAN CHASE & CO., Defendant.
WILLIAM F. JUNG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Compel Arbitration and Dismiss the Action. (Dkt. 31).
Plaintiff filed a response in opposition (Dkt. 36) and
Defendant replied (Dkt. 37). After hearing argument on
October 11, 2019, and carefully reviewing the file and
applicable law, the Court grants in part and denies in part
Defendant's motion (Dkt. 31). The Court compels
arbitration and stays the case. The Court denies
Defendant's request to dismiss this action.
Larry M. Grant initiated this action in state court on June
14, 2019, against his former employer, Defendant JP Morgan
Chase. Plaintiff sues on behalf of himself and others
similarly situated for alleged violations of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"),
as amended by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation
Act of 1985 ("COBRA"). (Dkt. 1-1). Defendant timely
removed the case to this court on July 24, 2019. (Dkt. 1). A
motion to certify the class has not yet been filed.
filed an Amended Complaint on August 1, 2019. (Dkt. 4). In
his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that while an
employee of Defendant, he was covered under a health plan
through Defendant. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff
complains that after he was terminated on March 30, 2019,
Defendant failed to properly give him lawful notice of his
ability to continue his health coverage through COBRA.
Id. ¶¶ 1, 18. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant's notice violates the statute and is defective
because it is incomplete and presented piece-meal.
Id. ¶ 6. He contends the multi-part notice is
confusing and fails to "be written in a manner
calculated to be understood by the average plan
participant" in violation of 29 C.F.R. §
2590.606-4(b)(4)(v). Id. ¶¶ 47-53, 59-61.
Additionally, he claims violations of the statutory
provisions requiring identification of the plan administrator
and disclosure of the address to send payments. Id.
¶¶ 43-46, 54-58.
moved to dismiss the amended complaint on August 15, 2019.
(Dkt. 11). Plaintiff sought two unopposed extensions of time,
which were granted by the Court, see Dkts. 16, 17,
27, 28, and thus he has not yet had to respond to the motion
sought to have this case designated as a Track 3 case, which
the Court denied without prejudice. (Dkts. 15, 19). The
parties participated in a meeting of counsel and on August
29, 2019, filed a Case Management Report. (Dkt. 23).
Thereafter, the Court entered a Scheduling Order on August
30, 2019. (Dkt. 24).
before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Compel
Arbitration and Dismiss the Action (Dkt. 31) that was filed
September 16, 2019. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition
(Dkt. 36), and Defendant replied (Dkt. 37). A hearing on the
motion was held October 11, 2019.
of his employment with Defendant, Plaintiff signed an
arbitration agreement ("Agreement") in October 2013
when he was hired as a Student Lending Loan Representative.
(Dkt. 31-2). The Agreement provided as follows:
"Covered Claims" (as defined below) between me and
JPMorgan Chase (collectively "Covered Parties" or
"Parties" . . .) shall be submitted to and resolved
by final and binding arbitration in accordance with this
Id. at 4. The Agreement defined "Covered
Claims" to include:
[A]ll legally protected employment-related claims . . . that
I now have or in the future may have against JPMorgan Chase .
. . which arise out of or relate to my employment or
separation from employment with JPMorgan Chase and all
legally protected employment-related claims that JPMorgan
Chase has or in the future may have against me, including,
but not limited to . .. violations of any other common law,
federal, state, or local statute, ordinance, regulation or
public policy ...
Id. Excluded claims under the Agreement included
"(d) claims for benefits under a plan that is governed
by [ERISA]." Id. Additionally, the Agreement
required claims to be submitted individually, and not on a