United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
are two motions before the Court. Plaintiffs filed a
“Motion to Compel Arbitration” (Rec. Doc. 9),
which Defendant has opposed (Rec. Doc. 11). Defendant also
filed a “Motion to Dismiss” (Rec. Doc. 10) for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim. Plaintiffs filed an opposition memorandum. Rec. Doc.
22. Defendant then sought, and was granted, leave to file a
reply (Rec. Doc. 27).
reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that
Defendant's motion to dismiss (Rec. Doc. 10) is
GRANTED and Plaintiffs' claims against
Defendant are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion to
compel arbitration (Rec. Doc. 9) is DISMISSED AS
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
worked at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans from 2000 to 2010,
when he was fired. Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 11. In 2011, Defendant
sued Ritz Carlton and its corporate parent, Marriott, in
Louisiana state court. Id. ¶¶ 10, 12.
Defendant alleges that he was fired in violation of a
Louisiana whistleblower statute and his employment agreement.
Id. ¶ 13. The lawsuit is ongoing. Id.
2013, Defendant was hired by the Sheraton in New Orleans.
Id. ¶ 21. When Defendant applied for the
Sheraton position, he signed an arbitration agreement.
Id. ¶ 20. In 2016, Marriott purchased Sheraton.
Id. ¶¶ 21-22. In August 2017, Defendant
resigned from his position at Sheraton. Id. ¶
October 12, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint seeking
“entry of a judgment compelling and requiring Defendant
to submit [to arbitration] any and all claims or disputes
that now exist or may hereafter arise in connection with or
in any manner relating to Defendant's [Sheraton]
application, Defendant's employment at the [Sheraton], or
Defendant's resignation or separation therefrom . . .
.” Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 64. Defendant then filed his
Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and
failure to state a claim. See Rec. Doc. 10.
Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, the party asserting jurisdiction bears the
burden of “alleg[ing] a plausible set of facts
establishing jurisdiction.” Physician Hosps. of
America v. Sebelius, 691 F.3d 649, 652 (5th Cir. 2012).
When deciding whether this burden has been met, a court may
analyze “(1) the complaint alone; (2) the complaint
supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or
(3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the
court's resolution of disputed facts.”
Barrera-Montenegro v. United States, 74 F.3d 657,
659 (5th Cir. 1996).
is a constitutional prerequisite to the exercise of
jurisdiction.” Lower Colo. River Auth. v. Papalote
Creek II, LLC, 858 F.3d 916, 922 (5th Cir. 2017).
“Under Article III of the Constitution, federal courts
are confined to adjudicating cases and controversies. And to
be a case or controversy for Article III jurisdictional
purposes, the litigation must be ripe for decision, meaning
that it must not be premature or speculative.”
Id. When deciding whether a complaint to compel
arbitration is ripe, a court “must look through the
[complaint] . . . to determine whether the underlying dispute
presents a sufficiently ripe controversy to establish federal
jurisdiction.” Id. (citing Vaden v.
Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49 (2009)). This procedure is
necessary because the Federal Arbitration Act “does not
enlarge federal-court jurisdiction; rather, it confines
federal courts to the jurisdiction they would have had save
for the arbitration agreement . . . .” Id. at
923 (quoting Vaden, 556 U.S. at 66).
Plaintiffs seek an order compelling Defendant to submit
claims to arbitration. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 64.
However, Plaintiffs do not point to any pending claims and
instead base their complaint on the possibility that
Defendant will bring claims in the future.“In the
declaratory judgment context, whether a particular dispute is
ripe for adjudication turns on whether a substantial
controversy of sufficient immediacy and reality exists
between parties having adverse legal interests.”
Lower Colo. River Auth., 858 F.3d at 924. While the
“threat of litigation can establish a justiciable
controversy if it is specific and concrete[, ]” such an
inquiry is fact-specific and turns on “the practical
likelihood” that litigation will actually begin.
Shields v. Norton, 289 F.3d 832, 835 (5th Cir.
2002). Therefore, the inquiry must focus on the likelihood
that Defendant will actually assert the claims attributed to
him in Plaintiffs' complaint.
strongest allegation is that Defendant unsuccessfully
attempted to add to his state lawsuit “claims relating
to his employment at the” Sheraton. Rec. Doc. 1 ¶
27. But Plaintiffs weaken this allegation by proceeding to
acknowledge that Defendant's state lawsuit “does
not include claims relating to the termination of his
[Sheraton] employment” and that Defendant “has so
far not filed a separate complaint regarding his [Sheraton]
employment . . . .” Rec. Doc. 22 at 3; see also
Id. at 11 (admitting “[t]he fact that [Defendant]
is not-for the moment- asserting a legal action
against Sheraton . . .”); id. at 17
(“The CDC Judge has clearly refused to allow any claims
or disputes relating to [Defendant's] employment at the
[Sheraton] or his termination therefrom to become part of the
CDC lawsuit . . . .”). Moreover, Defendant states in an
affidavit attached to his motion to dismiss that he has not
brought any claims related to his employment at Sheraton.
See Rec. Doc. 10-9 at 2.
importantly, given that Plaintiffs seek an order compelling
arbitration of future claims, Plaintiffs' complaint
offers no detail about what types of claims Defendant might
assert. Nor do Plaintiffs explain if, or when, Defendant will
assert claims subject to arbitration. Given the lack of
detail about what claims Defendant might bring and when he
might bring them, Plaintiffs' complaint does not
plausibly allege that there is a concrete threat of
litigation. Therefore, Plaintiffs' complaint does not
present a dispute ripe for adjudication at this time. See
Lower Colo. River Auth., 858 F.3d at 925-26 (explaining
that a dispute was not ripe for adjudication because there
was only a possibility that the contract at issue would be
breached); Shields, 289 F.3d at 836-37 (reasoning
that there was no concrete threat of litigation because the
prospective plaintiffs had not communicated a specific intent
to begin litigation); Orix Credit All., Inc. v.