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Salberg v. Massage Green International Franchise Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 11, 2016

ASHLEY SALBERG, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
MASSAGE GREEN INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISE CORPORATION, a corporation, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S UNOPPOSED MOTION TO COMPEL INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION, STRIKE PLAINTIFF’S CLASS CLAIMS, AND DISMISS PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT [ECF NO. 8.]

          HON. GONZALO P. CURIEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Ashley Salberg (“Plaintiff”) filed a putative class action (“Complaint”) against Defendant Massage Green International Franchise Corporation (“Defendant”) arising from Defendant’s alleged failure to pay wages and overtime. (ECF No. 1.) Before the Court is Defendant’s unopposed motion to (1) compel individual arbitration; (2) strike or alternatively dismiss Plaintiff’s class claims; and (3) stay litigation or alternatively dismiss the Complaint. (ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff has filed a statement of non-opposition. (ECF No. 10.) The Court finds the matter suitable for resolution without oral argument pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s unopposed motion to compel individual arbitration, strike Plaintiff’s class claims, and dismiss the Complaint without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         On December 14, 2015, Plaintiff, a former employee of Massage Green, filed a Complaint against Defendant. (ECF No. 1.) The Complaint alleges six causes of action against Defendant, which are all premised on Defendant’s alleged failure to pay wages and overtime pursuant to state and federal wage and hour laws. (Id.)

         On May 5, 2016, Defendant filed an unopposed motion to (1) compel individual arbitration pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 2; (2) strike any references to class allegations pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(f) or alternatively, dismiss all class claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6); and (3) stay litigation until the completion of individual arbitration pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 3 or alternatively, dismiss the Complaint without prejudice. (ECF No. 8.)

         Defendant asserts that Plaintiff is a party to an arbitration agreement (“Agreement”) which covers all the claims alleged in Plaintiff’s Complaint and requires that they be resolved exclusively through individual arbitration. (ECF No. 8-1 at 7.)

         The Agreement signed by Plaintiff on May 1, 2015, provides in pertinent part:

I and the Company agree to utilize binding individual arbitration as the sole and exclusive means to resolve all disputes that may arise out of or be related in any way to my employment, including but not limited to the termination of my employment and my compensation . . .
All claims brought under this binding arbitration Agreement shall be brought in the individual capacity of myself or the Company. This binding arbitration Agreement shall not be construed to . . . permit such claims or controversies to proceed as a class action or collective action. No arbitrator shall have the authority under this agreement to order any such class or collective action. By signing this agreement, I am agreeing to waive any substantive or procedural rights that I may have to bring an action on a class or collective basis.

(ECF No. 8-3, Harb Decl., Ex. A, Agreement ¶¶ 2, 3.)

         The Agreement also provides that it be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) because the “[c]ompany’s business involves interstate commerce, ” and that it be in conformity with the procedures of the California Arbitration Act (“CAA”). (Id. ¶ 2.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         I. Motion to Compel ...


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