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Jaffe v. Zamora

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division

October 23, 2014

ALLEN V. JAFFE, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN ZAMORA, TENET HEALTHCARE dba FOUNTAIN VALLEY REGIONAL HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER, Defendants

Allen V. Jaffe, Plaintiff, Pro se, Perris, CA.

For Tenet Healthcare, doing business as, Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, Defendant: E Sean McLoughlin, Michael S Turner, Warren J Higgins, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Hill Farrer & Burrill LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

Page 1245

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE CASE

CORMAC J. CARNEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

This is an employment action in which Plaintiff Allen V. Jaffe asserts claims for retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage-and-hour violations under the California Labor Code and federal Fair Labor Standards Act against Defendants Tenet Healthcare Corporation dba Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center (" Tenet" ) and John Zamora. Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (" FAC" ) in Orange County Superior Court on August 25, 2014, and the action was removed to this Court on September 12, 2014. ( See Dkt. No. 1, Exh. A [FAC].) Before the Court is Tenet's motion to compel arbitration of Mr. Jaffe's claims and stay the proceeding pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (" FAA" ), 9 U.S.C. § § 2, 3, 4. (Dkt. No. 12 [" Mot. Compel Arbitration" ].)

Page 1246

Mr. Jaffe has not filed an opposition. [1] For the reasons discussed below, Tenet's motion is GRANTED.[2]

II. BACKGROUND

According to the allegations in the FAC, Mr. Jaffe, a licensed respiratory therapist, was employed at two healthcare facilities owned and operated by Tenet between 2009 and 2013. Mr. Jaffe was hired by Tenet-owned JFK Memorial Hospital on October 12, 2009. (FAC at 9.) In February 2010, Mr. Jaffe transferred to a second Tenet facility, Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where he worked until he was terminated as part of a reduction in force on July 3, 2013. (FAC at 12, 27.) At the time he was initially hired, on October 12, 2009, Mr. Jaffe signed a document acknowledging that he received a copy of the company's employee handbook, and further stating that he " voluntarily agree[s] to use the Company's Fair Treatment Process and to submit to final and binding arbitration any and all claims and disputes except 'Excluded Issues,' that are related in any way to [his] employment or the termination of [his] employment with Tenet." (Dkt. No. 12 at 19-29, Decl. of Timothy Howard [" Howard Decl." ] ¶ 14; Exh. 4.) The document specified that the arbitration would be conducted before an experienced arbitrator chosen by Mr. Jaffe and Tenet, and that it would be conducted under the FAA and the procedural rules of the American Arbitration Association (" AAA" ). (Howard Decl. Exh. 4.) It further specified that Tenet would pay all arbitration fees and administrative costs above an amount equal to one day's pay and that Tenet was also required to submit to binding arbitration any claims it may have against Mr. Jaffe. (Howard Decl. Exh. 4.) When Mr. Jaffe was hired he also received a copy of Tenet's employee handbook which set out in detail the applicable arbitration rules and procedures as part of the company's " Fair Treatment Process." ( See Howard Decl. Exhs. 2, 4.) In January 2010, when Mr. Jaffe transferred to a different Tenet facility, he again signed an acknowledgment agreeing to submit all employment-related claims to binding arbitration with the same substantive terms as the 2009 acknowledgment. ( See Howard Decl. Exh. 5.) Mr. Jaffe again acknowledged that he received and reviewed a hard copy of Tenet's Fair Treatment Process detailing the arbitration procedures. ( See Howard Decl. Exh. 5.) Finally, after Tenet updated its employee handbook in 2012, Mr. Jaffe was required to review it a third time as well as complete an online course and tutorial regarding the handbook. ( See Howard Decl. ¶ ¶ 18-29; Exhs. 8, 9.) The updated handbook included substantively the same Fair Treatment Process with the same terms for final and binding arbitration. ( See Howard Decl. ¶ 18; Exh. 1.)

Mr. Jaffe filed the Complaint in this action on July 3, 2014, and the FAC on August 25, 2014. The FAC asserts eleven claims for retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage-and-hour violations under the California Labor Code, various other California statutes, and the federal Fair

Page 1247

Labor Standards Act, as well as claims for age discrimination and fraud and deceit under ...


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