United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a motion to compel arbitration filed by
Defendant CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (“CVS”). [Record
Document 8]. Because Plaintiff executed a valid arbitration
agreement in connection with his employment that covers his
employment discrimination claim, the motion is
Corandilus T. Williams (“Williams”) filed this
Title VII complaint, alleging that he “was written up
and told to ‘accept' harassment” and that he
“was told by my Pharmacist Jessica that my co-workers
didn't like me because I'm a man.” [Record
Document 1 at 1]. CVS responded with the instant motion,
which seeks to compel arbitration. [Record Document 8].
Attached to the motion is an agreement to arbitrate, signed
by Williams, that contains the following relevant provisions:
Under this Agreement, You and CVS agree that any dispute
between You and CVS that is covered by this Agreement
(“Covered Claims”) will be decided by a single
arbitrator through final and binding arbitration only . . . .
. . . Covered Claims are any and all claims, disputes, or
controversies that . . . You may have, now or in the future,
against CVS or one of its employees or agents, arising out of
or related to your employment with CVS or the termination of
your employment. Covered Claims include . . . harassment,
discrimination, retaliation, and termination arising under
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . . .
. . . .
This arbitration will be administered by the American
Arbitration Association (“AAA”) and will be
conducted in accordance with the Employment Arbitration Rules
and Mediation Procedures of the AAA then in effect.
[Record Document 8-2 at 7]. Williams did not file an
Law and Analysis
Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C.
§§ 1-16 (2012), expresses a strong public policy in
favor of arbitration. Under the FAA, a presumption of
arbitrability exists and any doubts concerning the scope of
arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration.
Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr.
Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983). Arbitration should not
be denied “unless it can be said with positive
assurance that an arbitration clause is not susceptible of an
interpretation which would cover the dispute at issue.”
Wick v. Atl. Marine, Inc., 605 F.2d 166, 168 (5th
Cir. 1979) (citing United Steelworkers of Am. v. Am. Mfg.
Co., 363 U.S. 564 (1960); Seaboard Coast Line R.R.
Co. v. Nat'l Passenger Rail Corp., 554 F.2d 657 (5th
Cir. 1977) (per curiam)).
Fifth Circuit has laid out a two-step process in order to
determine whether parties have agreed to arbitrate a
particular dispute: “(1) is there a valid agreement to
arbitrate the claims and (2) does the dispute in question
fall within the scope of that arbitration agreement[?]”
Sharpe v. AmeriPlan Corp., 769 F.3d 909, 914 (5th
Cir. 2014) (quoting Sherer v. Green Tree Servicing,
LLC, 548 F.3d 379, 381 (5th Cir. 2008)). State law
controls the disposition of the first step. Id.
(citing Klein v. Nabors Drilling USA L.P., 710 F.3d
234, 236 (5th Cir. 2013)). Under Louisiana law, parties may
reciprocally bind themselves to arbitration agreements. La
Civ. Code Ann. arts. 3099-3100 (2015). Such agreements are
“valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such
grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of
any contract.” La. Stat. Ann. § 9:4201 (2009). The
arbitration agreement between the parties in this case
clearly expresses their intent to submit claims related to
employment disputes to binding arbitration: “You and
CVS agree that any dispute between You and CVS that is
covered by this Agreement . . . will be decided by a single
arbitrator through final and binding arbitration only.”
[Record Document 8-2 at 7]. No. material before the Court
suggests any basis for finding that the arbitration agreement
is null due to the absence of an element essential to
contract formation. Moreover, the arbitration agreement
allows employees to opt out of arbitration and protects
employees from retaliation for exercising their opt-out
right, [id. at 8], suggesting that Williams's
consent to the arbitration agreement was not vitiated in any
the parties clearly and unmistakably provide otherwise,
” the Court determines whether a claim is arbitrable.
Petrofac, Inc. v. DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations
Co., 687 F.3d 671, 675 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting AT
& T Techs., Inc. v. Commc'ns Workers of Am., 475
U.S. 643, 649 (1986)). The express adoption of rules that
assign the determination of arbitrability to the arbitrator
“presents clear and unmistakable evidence that the
parties agreed to arbitrate arbitrability.”
Id. Here, the arbitration agreement provides that
arbitration shall be conducted “in accordance with the
Employment Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures of the
AAA.” [Record Document 8-2 at 7]. These rules provide
that “[t]he arbitrator shall have the power to rule on
his or her own jurisdiction, including any objections with
respect to the existence, scope, or validity of the