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Herring v. Patterson Structural Moving and Shoring, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

December 21, 2017

KIMBERLY HERRING
v.
PATTERSON STRUCTURAL MOVING AND SHORING, LLC AND XYZ INSURANCE COMPANY

         SECTION "S" (2)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Expedited Consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Continuance of the Hearing on Patterson Structural Moving and Shoring, LLC's Motion to Dismiss or Alternatively Motion to Compel Arbitration Set for Hearing on December 6, 2017 (Doc. #16) is DENIED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Continuance of the Hearing on Patterson Structural Moving and Shoring, LLC's Motion to Dismiss or Alternatively Motion to Compel Arbitration Set for Hearing on December 6, 2017 (Doc. #16) is DENIED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Patterson Structural Moving and Shoring, LLC's Motion to Compel Arbitration (Doc. #11) is GRANTED. This matter is hereby STAYED pending the arbitration.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on a motion to compel arbitration filed by defendant, Patterson Structural Moving and Shoring, LLC. Patterson argues that the parties' contract contains a binding arbitration clause and plaintiff, Kimberly Herring, should be ordered to pursue her claims against Patterson in arbitration.[1]

         On July 28, 2011, Herring and Patterson entered into a contract under which Patterson was to raise, renovate and repair Herring's home. Paragraph 8 of the standard form contract prepared by Patterson stated:

8. DISPUTES: Any disputes relating to this Agreement, other than the collection of amount[s] owed hereunder or collection or any check issued with insufficient funds, shall be referred to binding arbitration to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana in accord with the Fast Track procedures of the Construction Industry Dispute Resolution Procedures of the American Arbitration Association, regardless of the amount in dispute. Any award rendered by an arbitrator in accord with this provision is binding and may include attorneys' fees and cots and be enforced by any court of competent jurisdiction.

         Herring filed this action against Patterson Structural in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana asserting Louisiana state-law claims against Patterson related to allegedly faulty renovations and repairs to her home. Patterson removed this suit to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana alleging that this court has diversity subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Patterson filed the instant motion to compel arbitration seeking to enforce the contractual arbitration clause. Herring argues that the arbitration clause is unenforceable because it is adhesionary.

         ANALYSIS

         The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq., “embodies the national policy favoring arbitration.” Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v. Cardegna, 126 S.Ct. 1204, 1207 (2006). The FAA provides that an arbitration agreement is “valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. A party to an arbitration agreement “may petition any United States district court . . . for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such agreement.” Id. at § 4. “Upon being satisfied that the issue involved in [a] suit or proceeding is referable to arbitration under such an agreement, [the court] shall on application of one of the parties stay the trial of the action until such arbitration has been had in accordance with the terms of the agreement.” Id. at § 3.

         The court applies a two-step analysis to determine whether a party may be compelled to arbitrate. Sherer v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, 548 F.3d 379, 381 (5th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). First, the court asks if the party has agreed to arbitrate the dispute. Id. If so, the court asks if “any federal statute or policy renders the claims nonarbitrable.” Id. (quoting Wash. Mut. Fin Grp., LLC v. Bailey, 364 F.3d 260, 263 (5th Cir. 2004)).

         I. Agreement to ...


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