from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
SMITH, PRADO, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.
C. PRADO, Circuit Judge:
Gaspar Salas brought claims against Defendant- Appellant GE
Oil & Gas ("GE") for discrimination and
retaliation. The district court granted GE's motion to
compel arbitration and dismissed the case. However, the court
later reopened the case and withdrew its prior order
compelling arbitration. Because the district court lacked
jurisdiction to do so, we VACATE and REMAND for further
proceedings consistent with this decision.
is a former employee of GE. When Salas accepted employment at
GE's predecessor, Dresser, Inc., he agreed to arbitrate
all disputes between the two parties. After GE acquired
Dresser, Inc., GE introduced its own dispute resolution
program called Solutions. GE advised Salas that if he
continued to work at the company after November 1, 2013, he
would "agree to participate in and abide by" this
arbitration program. Salas did continue to work at GE past
this date. In June 2014, Salas brought suit against GE in the
district court claiming discrimination and retaliation in
violation of Title VII. GE then moved to compel arbitration.
The district court granted this motion in December 2014 and
dismissed Salas's claims without prejudice.
parties did not move forward with arbitration. Each side
blames the other for the delay. In February 2016, Salas filed
a motion in the district court to compel arbitration; GE
opposed this motion as redundant. After a telephonic
conference on this motion, the district court issued an order
on March 30, 2016, reopening the case and withdrawing its
earlier order compelling arbitration. The district court
noted in this order that the parties had "failed"
to arbitrate. After the court denied GE's motion for
reconsideration, GE timely appealed.
parties contest both whether the district court had subject
matter jurisdiction to issue its March 30, 2016 order and
whether we have appellate jurisdiction over that order. We
address appellate jurisdiction first.
contends that this Court has appellate jurisdiction under the
Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), which permits an
appeal from an order "denying an application . . . to
compel arbitration." 9 U.S.C. § 16(a)(1)(C). Salas
argues that the district court's order dated March 30,
2016, was not an order denying a motion to compel
arbitration, and that in any event GE appealed the order
denying its motion for reconsideration.
district court's order dated March 30, 2016, followed a
telephonic conference on Salas's motion to compel
arbitration. Although the order did not explicitly mention
Salas's motion, the order withdrew the court's prior
order granting GE's motion to compel arbitration and
reopened the case. In essence, then, the court's March
30, 2016 order did deny an application to compel arbitration.
Compare Moss v. First Premier Bank, 835 F.3d 260,
264 (2d Cir. 2016) (finding appellate jurisdiction over an
order that "lifted a prior stay under Section 3 [of the
FAA] and vacated a prior order compelling arbitration"),
and Koveleskie v. SBC Capital Mkts., Inc., 167 F.3d
361, 363 (7th Cir. 1999) (finding appellate jurisdiction over
"a minute order"-in which "the district court
refused to compel arbitration"-because "there [was]
no doubt from the record that the district court denied the
defendant's motion [to compel arbitration] and clearly
meant to foreclose arbitration"), with Van Dusen v.
Swift Transp. Co., 830 F.3d 893, 897 (9th Cir. 2016)
(finding no appellate jurisdiction over "a case
management order designed to lead to a decision on a motion
to compel arbitration"). Additionally, GE's motion
for reconsideration tolled its time to appeal. Fed. R. App.
P. 4. This Court therefore has appellate jurisdiction under 9
U.S.C. § 16(a)(1)(C).
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
principally argues that the district court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction to reopen the case. Because the district
court fully dismissed this case in December 2014, GE
contends, the court could no longer exercise jurisdiction
other than to enforce an ...