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Lee v. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 14, 2013

KENNETH J. LEE, et al., individually, on behalf of others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, Plaintiffs,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO., et al., Defendants. JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., Counterclaimant,
v.
KENNETH J. LEE, et al., Counter-Defendants

For Kenneth J Lee, individually, on behalf of others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, Mark G Thompson, individually, on behalf of others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, Plaintiffs: Bryan J Schwartz, LEAD ATTORNEY, William C Weeks, Bryan Schwartz Law, Oakland, CA; David Borgen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katrina L Eiland, Goldstein Borgen Dardarian and Ho, Oakland, CA; Michael D Thomas, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bryan Schwartz Law Offices, Oakland, CA; Laura L Ho, Goldstein Demchak Baller Borgen & Dardarian, Oakland, CA.

For David C Acree, individually, on behalf of others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, Plaintiff: Bryan J Schwartz, LEAD ATTORNEY, William C Weeks, Bryan Schwartz Law, Oakland, CA; Michael D Thomas, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bryan Schwartz Law Offices, Oakland, CA; Katrina L Eiland, Goldstein Borgen Dardarian and Ho, Oakland, CA.

For JPMorgan Chase and Co, JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association, Defendants: Samuel S Shaulson, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, New York, NY; Alexander L Grodan, Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP, Irvine, CA; Daryl S Landy, Morgan Lewis and Bockius, Irvine, CA; Eric Meckley, Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP, San Francisco, CA.

OPINION

JOSEPHINE L. STATON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Page 1110

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS (Doc. 49) AND DISMISSING ACTION

Before the Court is a Motion to Compel Arbitration on an Individual Basis (" Motion" ) filed by Defendants JPMorgan Chase & Co. and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (collectively, " JPMorgan" or " Defendants" ). (Doc. 49.) Plaintiffs Kenneth J. Lee and Mark G. Thompson (" Plaintiffs" ) filed an opposition, and Defendants replied. (Opp'n, Doc. 53; Reply, Doc. 59.) The Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); C. D. Cal. R. 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing set for November 15, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. is VACATED. Having read and considered the parties' papers, the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint alleging violations of California and federal labor laws and California's unfair competition law arising out

Page 1111

of their employment as appraisers for JPMorgan (and/or JPMorgan's predecessor-in-interest Washington Mutual Bank). (Doc. 1.) Plaintiffs bring their claims against the Defendants on class, collective, and representative bases on behalf of various classes of current and former employees. (SAC ¶ ¶ 18-48, 85-96, Doc. 38.)

As part of their employment, Plaintiffs entered into arbitration agreements (" Arbitration Agreements" ). (McGuire Decl. ¶ ¶ 3-4, Exs. 1 & 2, Doc. 49-2; Schwartz Decl. ¶ ¶ 5-6, Exs. A & B, Doc. 54.) The Arbitration Agreements provide that: " Any and all disputes that involve or relate in any way to my employment (or termination of employment) with Washington Mutual shall be submitted to and resolved by final and binding arbitration." (McGuire Decl., Exs. 1 & 2, at ¶ 1; Schwartz Decl., Exs. A & B, at ¶ 1.) The Arbitration Agreements do not contain express waivers of class, collective, or representative claims.

On June 3, 2013, Defendants filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration. (Doc. 14.) On August 14, 2013, the parties filed a joint stipulation regarding issues raised by that motion. (Stip., Doc. 46.) Plaintiffs agree that, pursuant to their arbitration agreements with Defendants, their claims should be resolved in arbitration. (Stip. at 3:11-14.) The parties, however, request that the Court resolve two outstanding issues:

o Should the Court or an arbitrator decide whether the WaMu Binding Arbitration Agreement Plaintiffs Lee and Thompson signed allows for more than ...

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