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Title Nadika Abeyrama v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank

June 22, 2012

TITLE NADIKA ABEYRAMA
v.
J.P. MORGAN CHASE BANK



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Dolly M. Gee, United States District Judge

JS-6

CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

VALENCIA VALLERY NOT REPORTED

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter

Attorneys Present for Plaintiff(s) Attorneys Present for Defendant(s) None Present None Present

Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS-ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO

COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY PROCEEDINGS [DOC. # 11]

This matter is before the Court on the motion to compel arbitration filed by Defendant J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. The Court held a hearing on the motion on June 22, 2012. [Doc. # 11.] Having considered the parties' written submissions and oral argument, the Court renders the following decision granting Defendant's motion.

I.

BACKGROUND

On December 15, 2010, Plaintiff Nadika Abeyrama filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging the following claims: (1) failure to accommodate in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"); (2) failure to engage in a good faith interactive process in violation of FEHA; (3) disability discrimination in violation of FEHA; (4) retaliation/discrimination in violation of California Family Rights Act ("CFRA") and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"); (5) violation of CFRA/FMLA; (6) failure to take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination in violation of FEHA; (7) rest period pay, meal period pay, interest, attorney's fees, costs, and penalties pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code §§ 218.5, 218.6, 226.7, and 512; (8) wrongful termination in violation of public policy; (9) tortious constructive termination in violation of public policy; and (10) violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 et seq.

On January 18, 2012, Defendant removed this case to this Court pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1348, 1441 et seq., and 1446(b). [Doc. # 1.]

On May 16, 2012, Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration and stay these proceedings. [Doc. # 11.] On June 1, 2012, Plaintiff filed her opposition. [Doc. # 12.] On June 8, 2012, Defendant filed its reply. [Doc. # 13.]

II.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") "provides that agreements to arbitrate disputes 'shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.'" Jackson v. Rent-a-Center West, Inc., 581 F.3d 912, 915 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing 9 U.S.C. § 2). Provided that the Court is satisfied with the making of the agreement for arbitration or that the failure to comply therewith is not in issue, the Court is required to direct the parties to proceed with arbitration. 9 U.S.C. § 4. "By its terms, the Act leaves no place for the exercise of discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that district courts shall direct the parties to proceed to arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement has been signed." Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218, 105 S. Ct. 1238, 84 L. Ed. 2d 158 (1985) (emphasis in original); see also Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc., 175 F.3d 716, 719 (9th Cir. 1999).

This Court's role under the Act is therefore limited to ascertaining "(1) whether a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and, if it does, (2) whether the agreement encompasses the dispute at issue." Chiron Corp. v. Ortho Diagnostic Sys., Inc., 207 F.3d 1126, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). It is axiomatic that arbitration is a creature of contract and a party cannot be compelled to arbitrate absent a valid agreement to do so. See, e.g., AT & T Techs., Inc. v. Communications Workers of Am., 475 U.S. 643, 649, 106 S. Ct. 1415, 89 L. Ed. 2d 648 (1986); see also Jackson, 581 F.3d at 915 (arbitration agreements are subject to all defenses to enforcement generally applicable to contracts). Where a valid arbitration clause exists, there is a presumption in favor of arbitration "unless it may be said with positive assurance that the arbitration ...


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