Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Myers v. TRG Customer Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

November 15, 2017

MYLEE MYERS, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
TRG CUSTOMER SOLUTIONS, INC. d/b/a IBEX GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Mylee Myers brings this action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., individually and on behalf of all similarly situated current and former employees of the defendant, TRG Customer Solutions, Inc., doing business as IBEX Global Solutions (“IBEX”). She seeks to recover unpaid wages owed to her and similarly situated employees who have worked at IBEX's call centers in the United States. Now before the court is IBEX's Motion to Compel Arbitration and to Dismiss the Action. (Doc. No. 57.) Also still pending is the plaintiff's Motion for Conditional Certification and the Issuance of Court-Supervised Notice (Doc. No. 8), the resolution of which the court previously deferred.

         For the reasons set forth herein, the court will grant the defendant's motion to compel plaintiff Mylee Myers to pursue individual arbitration of her claims but will deny the motion to dismiss the case in its entirety. The Motion for Conditional Certification will be denied without prejudice.

         I. Procedural and Factual Background

         IBEX is a privately held company that operates more than twenty call centers in at least seven countries, including ten call centers in the United States. (Compl. ¶ 12; Decl. of Paul Inson, Doc. No. 27-1 ¶ 4.) Myers resides in Steubenville, Ohio. She worked for IBEX as a customer service representative at its Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania call center from November 2013 through September 2014. She worked as a supervisor at the same call center from September 2014 through June 2015. (Compl. ¶ 6.) The Complaint does not include factual allegations regarding the circumstances under which the plaintiff's employment ended.

         For purposes of the defendant's Motion to Compel, Myers does not dispute that she signed a document titled Direct Dialogue Program and Mutual Agreement to Mediate/Arbitrate Acknowledgment and Acceptance on November 3, 2013, in which she “acknowledge[d] that [she had] received and read the Direct Dialogue Program and Mutual Agreement to Mediate/Arbitrate and will abide by it as a condition of [her] employment.” (Doc. No. 27-6, at 7.) The Direct Dialogue Program and Mutual Agreement to Mediate/Arbitrate (“DDP”), to which the Acknowledgment and Acceptance is attached, contains the following language:

The Company and Employee mutually consent to the resolution, by final and binding arbitration, of any and all claims or controversies (“claim”) that the Company may have against Employee or that Employee may have against the Company . . ., whether or not arising out of the employment relationship (or its termination), including but not limited to, any claims arising out of or related to this Agreement to Arbitrate (this “Agreement”) or the breach thereof.

(Doc. No. 27-6, at 2 (emphasis in original).) The DDP states that it shall survive the termination of the employee's employment. (Id. at 3.) The DDP does not contain any language either expressly permitting or prohibiting a collective action arbitration.

         Myers filed her Collective Action Complaint initiating this lawsuit on June 1, 2017. The next day, she filed a Motion for Conditional Certification and for the Issuance of Court-Supervised Notice to members of the conditionally certified class (Doc. No. 8). During the pendency of that motion, several putative collective-action plaintiffs filed Notices of Consent to Become Party Plaintiff. (See Doc. Nos. 13-1, 17-1, 23-1, 24-1, 43-1, 46-1, 51-1, 52-1 (“I hereby consent . . . to become a party plaintiff in the above-captioned FLSA lawsuit. I understand that I will be bound by the judgment of the Court to all issues in this lawsuit, including the fairness of any settlement.”).)

         On August 24, 2017, the court entered an Order deferring ruling on the Motion for Conditional Certification and directing the parties to confer and discuss the possibility of reaching an agreement regarding collective action and arbitrability. The parties were directed to file a Joint Status Report within fourteen days of entry of that Order. The court noted that, if the parties concluded by that time that they would be unable to reach an agreement, the court would set a briefing schedule for the defendant's anticipated motion to compel arbitration. In the Memorandum accompanying that Order, the court notified the parties that it did not read the Sixth Circuit's ruling in National Labor Relations Board v. Alternative Entertainment, Inc., 858 F.3d 393 (6th Cir. 2017), as barring waivers of the right to bring a collective action under the FLSA.

         Shortly after the entry of that Order, the parties notified the court that they would not be able to reach an agreement on the issues of conditional certification and arbitrability. In light of that conclusion, the defendant filed its Motion to Compel and supporting documentation (Doc. Nos. 57, 58). In accordance with a scheduling Order entered by the court (Doc. No. 60), the plaintiff filed her Response in Opposition (Doc. No. 62), and the defendant filed a Reply (Doc. No. 65).

         Thereafter, the plaintiff submitted a Notice of Filing (Doc. No. 66), giving notice of IBEX's alleged failure to comply with filing deadlines in two arbitration proceedings commenced by individuals who did not opt into this case. The plaintiff, through counsel, alleges that “IBEX's conduct” in these arbitrations “is not an isolated matter” and that IBEX has “exhibited a pattern of failing to abide by its agreements to arbitrate.” (Doc. No. 66, at 2.) IBEX filed a Response to the Notice of Filing, objecting to the Notice as an attempt to “subvert this Court's rules by disguising an unauthorized sur-reply . . . as a nebulous ‘Notice of Filing'” and also generally objecting to the substance of the Notice of Filing. (Doc. No. 67.) The plaintiff responded by filing a Motion for Leave to File Reply and Notice of Filing or, in the Alternative, for Leave to File Sur-Reply and Supplemental Argument, with the attached proposed Reply. (Doc. No. 68.) This motion requests leave to reply to IBEX's Response to the plaintiff's Notice of Filing and, alternatively, requests that the court grant leave retroactively to file the Notice of Filing as a sur-reply, and to file the Reply to the Response to the Notice of Filing as a supplemental argument. The Reply itself (Doc. No. 70) responds to the factual allegations in the defendant's Response.

         Although the court already granted the Motion for Leave to File Reply, the court finds that the Notice of Filing (Doc. No. 66), Response (Doc. No. 67), and Reply (Doc. No. 70) are irrelevant to consideration of the Motion to Compel and generally improper. The court has not relied on any of these filings in ruling on the Motion to Compel Arbitration.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16, where a litigant establishes the existence of a valid agreement to arbitrate, the district court must grant the litigant's motion to compel arbitration and stay or dismiss proceedings until the completion of arbitration. Glazer v. Lehman Bros., Inc., 394 F.3d 444, 451 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing 9 U.S.C. §§ 3-4). The FAA creates a strong presumption in favor of arbitration, O.J. Distrib., Inc. v. Hornell Brewing Co., 340 F.3d 345, 355 (6th Cir. 2003), and any doubts regarding arbitrability must be resolved in favor of arbitration. Fazio v. Lehman Bros., Inc., 340 F.3d 386, 392 (6th Cir. 2003).

         Nevertheless, an arbitration agreement may be voided for the same reasons for which any contract may be invalidated under state law, “provided the contract law applied is general and not specific to arbitration clauses.” Id. at 393. “In order to show that the validity of the agreement is in issue, the party opposing arbitration must show a genuine issue of material fact as to the validity of the agreement to arbitrate, a showing that mirrors the summary ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.