United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL
ARBITRATION AND STAY LITIGATION [Re: ECF 16]
LABSON FREEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tesla Motors, Inc. moves to compel arbitration of Plaintiff
Walter Hidalgo’s claims and stay this litigation while
arbitration is in process. See Mot. at 7, ECF 16.
Because the arbitration agreement between Tesla and Hidalgo
is valid and encompasses the claims raised in Hidalgo’s
lawsuit, Tesla’s motion is GRANTED.
November 2012, Tesla extended Hidalgo an offer of employment.
See Copher Decl. Ex. A, ECF 16-2. Tesla employee
John Pardo emailed Hidalgo his formal offer letter, which was
a four-page PDF document attached to Pardo’s email.
See Petry Decl. ¶ 2, ECF 19-1. Page two of the
offer letter states,
To ensure the rapid and economical resolution of disputes
that may arise in connection with your employment with Tesla,
you and Tesla agree that any and all disputes, claims, or
causes of action, in law or equity, arising from or relating
to your employment, or the termination of your employment,
will be resolved, to the fullest extent permitted by law by
binding arbitration per Attachment A, and that you are
waiving your right to a jury trial.
Petry Decl. Ex. A at 5, ECF 19-2 (emphasis original). Page
three of the offer letter contains signature and date lines
for Hidalgo to indicate his acceptance of the letter. See
Id. at 6. Page four of the PDF is titled
“ARBITRATION AGREEMENT” and sets forth the terms
of the arbitration agreement. See Id. at 7. In
relevant part, the arbitration agreement states,
[Y]ou and Tesla agree to an arbitration in which:
a. you are waiving any and all rights to a jury
trial but all court remedies will be available in
b. all disputes between you and the Company shall be fully
and finally resolved by binding arbitration that provides for
adequate discovery; and
c. all disputes shall be resolved by a neutral arbitrator who
shall issue a written opinion; and
d. Tesla shall pay all arbitration fees in excess of those
which would be required if the dispute was filed in a court
Nothing in this Agreement is intended to prevent either you
or Tesla from obtaining injunctive relief in court . . . .
Id. (emphasis original). After receiving the offer
letter, Hidalgo signed and dated the letter on page three and
emailed the first three pages of the offer letter back to
Pardo, but not the fourth. See Hidalgo Decl. ¶
4, Ex. A, ECF 18-2.
parties agree that Hidalgo received at least the first three
pages of the offer letter in Pardo’s email, but
disagree as to whether he received the fourth page.
See Opp. at 2, ECF 18; Reply at 2, ECF 19. In his
declaration supporting his opposition to Tesla’s
motion, Hidalgo originally stated that he “never
received the last page (page four) of the employment
agreement . . . entitled ‘Attachment A - Arbitration
Agreement.’” Hidalgo Decl. ¶ 3. He also
stated that he “did not know at any time that any
dispute [he] had with Tesla would be arbitrated, ” and
that although he “now see[s] a small paragraph on page
two of the employment offer, however, [he] did not see that
when [he] signed the offer letter and neither [his] signature
nor [his] initials are anywhere near that paragraph. Most
importantly, [he] never received the Attachment A that
paragraph is referencing.” Id. ¶ 6. In
response, Tesla submitted a reply declaration from Jeff
Petry, Senior Information Security Engineer at Tesla, which
stated that Petry had retrieved Pardo’s original email
to Hidalgo and its attachment from an Enterprise Vault email
archive. See Petry Decl. ¶¶ 1-3. The
attachment contains all four pages of the offer letter,
including the arbitration agreement on page four.
See Petry Decl. Ex. A. Hidalgo then amended his
declaration to state, “I do not recall receiving the
last page (page four) of the employment agreement . . .