United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
KATHLEEN KAY, MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant Waitr Holdings, Inc.9');">9;s
(“Waitr”) Motion to Compel Arbitration and
Dismiss Complaint [Doc. No. 7]. Plaintiff Gregory Sewell
(“Sewell”) filed an opposition memorandum. [Doc.
No. 9');">9]. Waitr filed a reply memorandum. [Doc. No. 13].
following reasons, the Motion to Compel Arbitration and
Dismiss Complaint is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is a Louisiana-based technology company that operates an
online food order and delivery platform that allows its
patrons to use mobile or desktop applications to order food
and have it delivered from participating restaurants.
April 13, 2017, Waitr hired Sewell as a City Manager. In
connection with and in consideration for his employment,
Sewell signed an offer letter. That offer letter contained
the following provision:
In the event of any dispute or claim relating to or arising
out of our employment relationship, you and the Company agree
that (i) any and all disputes between you and the Company
shall be fully and finally resolved by binding arbitration,
(ii) you are waiving any and all rights to a jury trial but
all court remedies will be available in arbitration, (iii)
all disputes shall be resolved by a neutral arbitrator who
shall issue a written opinion and (iv) the arbitration shall
provide for adequate discovery.
[Doc. No. 7-3, Declaration of Amy Behne (“Behne
Declaration”), Exh. 2, ¶ 5 & Tab A].
February 27, 2018, Waitr promoted Sewell to Business Manager
of Excellence. Sewell received a second offer letter
regarding this position that did not include any arbitration
terms. [Doc. No. 7-3, Behne Declaration, Exh. 2, ¶ 6,
Tab B]. Sewell signed that letter on March 3, 2018.
November 16, 2018, Waiter distributed an Agreement to
Arbitrate Claims. This agreement was emailed through his
@waitrapp.com email address. The Agreement to Arbitrate Claims
was also communicated through a public group chat channel
(“Discord”) and an internal messaging platform
(“Slack”). [Doc. No. 9');">9, Exh. C., Affidavit of
Chad Murray, ¶¶ 16 & 17]. That Agreement
provides as follows:
In consideration of the at-will employment relationship
between Waitr, Inc. and/or Waitr Holdings, Inc.
(“Employer”) and Employee and the mutual desire
of the parties to enter into this Agreement to Arbitrate
Claims (“Agreement”), the parties hereby agree
that any and all disputes, claims or controversies between
the parties, including but not limited to any dispute arising
out of or relating to this Agreement, the employment
relationship between the parties, or the formation or
termination of the employment relationship, or which arise
after the termination of the employment relationship, which
are not resolved by their mutual agreement shall be resolved
by final and binding arbitration by a neutral arbitrator.
. . .
The claims covered by this Agreement include, but are not
limited to, claims for . . . violation of any local, state,
or federal constitution, statute, law, ordinance or
regulation . . . wages, overtime, premiums, gratuities, tips,
service/administrative charges, or any other compensation
due; penalties . . . .
[Doc. No. 7-3, Behne Declaration, Exh. 2, ¶ 7 & Tab
Agreement to Arbitrate Claims further provides:
I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I HAVE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO
REVIEW AND ASK QUESTIONS CONCERNING THIS AGREEMENT AS A
CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT. I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM PERMITTED TO
TAKE THIS AGREEMENT WITH ME AND REVIEW IT WITH AN ATTORNEY OF
MY CHOICE IF I SO DESIRE.I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT BY
CONTINUING TO WORK FOR COMPANY, MY CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT WILL
BE CONSIDERED ACCEPTANCEOFTHEAGREEMENT, EVENWITHOUT
Id. (emphasis in original). The Agreement to
Arbitrate Claims expressly applies only to disputes that
otherwise would be resolved in a court of law; it does not
extend to claims or matters that may be brought before an
administrative agency or purport to limit the ...