United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
JUDGE PATRICK J. HANNA
G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this suit on February 15, 2016, asserting claims for
discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981; the Civil
Service Reform Act, 5 U.S.C. § 7703(b)(2); and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621,
before the Court is Defendants Strategic Restaurants
Acquisition Company, LLC, Burger King Corporation, Teresa
Donnich, Damien Arabie and Troy Theriot39;s (collectively
“Defendants”) Motion to Compel Arbitration, to
Stay Proceedings, and for an Award of Reasonable
Attorneys39; Fees. [Doc. No. 11]. The motion was referred
to Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna for a Report and
Recommendation. [Doc. No. 18]. In his Report and
Recommendation [Doc. No. 21], Magistrate Judge Hanna
recommends that this Court grant in part and deny in part
Defendants39; motion, stay the lawsuit and order Plaintiff
to submit her claims to arbitration, but deny an award of
attorneys39; fees, “because the arbitration agreement
is not binding on this court.” [Doc. No. 21, p. 17].
objected to the Report and Recommendation to the extent it
denies attorneys39; fees. [Doc. No. 22]. Plaintiff did not
conducting a de novo review of the record in this
case, the Court ADOPTS IN PART and DECLINES TO ADOPT IN PART
Magistrate Judge Hanna39;s Report and Recommendation.
the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation and finds that
Defendants39; Motion should be GRANTED to the extent they
seek to stay the lawsuit and compel Plaintiff to submit her
claims to arbitration in accordance with the agreement.
However, the Court DECLINES TO ADOPT the Report and
Recommendation with regard to attorneys39; fees.
well settled under Louisiana law that a prevailing litigant
may not recover attorneys39; fees unless provided for by
statute or contract. General Motors Acceptance Corp. v.
Meyers, 385 So.2d 245');">385 So.2d 245, 247 (La. 1980) (citing
Hernandez v. Harson, 37 La. 389');">237 La. 389, 320');">111 So.2d 320
(1959)). Defendants seek “reasonable costs and
attorney39;s fees” as the “prevailing
party” under the signed agreement titled Statement of
Arbitration Policy and Agreement to Arbitrate
(“Arbitration Agreement”). [Doc. No. 11-3, p. 3].
Section 6 of the Arbitration Agreement provides:
Any disputes concerning the enforcement, scope, and/or
applicability of this policy shall in the first instance be
determined by the arbitrator. Should either the Company or an
employee disregard this arbitration policy and pursue an
action subject hereto in any court or administrative agency,
upon application of the aggrieved party to a court of
competent jurisdiction, the court shall order the matter to
arbitration and shall award the prevailing party in any such
hearing its reasonable costs and attorney39;s fees incurred
in connection therewith.
Id. at 4 (Emphasis added).
Court concludes that Defendants are the prevailing party
under the Arbitration Agreement. The express language of the
contract demonstrates the clear intent of the parties for the
deciding court to award attorneys39; fees to the prevailing
party to the extent such fees were incurred in enforcing the
arbitration agreement. See, e.g., Galva-Foam
Marine Indus., Inc. v. Antelope Point Holdings,
LLC, No. CV 08-1259-PHX-NVW, 2008 WL 4191468, at *1 (D.
Ariz. Sept. 10, 2008) (attorney39;s fees awarded to the
party compelling mediation under an arbitration agreement
which provided that “the court shall award cost [sic]
/expenses including attorney fees to the party justly
entitled to them.”). Applying the plain language of the
agreement and consistent with the intent of the parties,
Defendants are entitled to collect reasonable costs and
attorneys39; fees incurred in connection with their motion.
foregoing reasons, Defendants' Motion to Compel
Arbitration, to Stay Proceedings and for an Award of
Attorneys' Fees [Doc. No. 11] is GRANTED. Plaintiff is
ordered to submit the claims asserted in this lawsuit to
arbitration in accordance with the arbitration agreement,
this lawsuit is STAYED, and Defendants are awarded costs and
attorneys' fees related to the filing and prosecution of
their motion. Defendants' counsel shall file an affidavit
and any supporting documentation setting forth the requested
costs and attorneys' fees within twenty-one (21) ...