United States District Court, E.D. California
LUIS GUERRERO, on behalf of himself, all others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, Plaintiffs,
HALLIBURTON ENERGY SERVICES, INC.; and DOES 1-100, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY AND HOLDING IN ABEYANCE
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION (ECF NOS. 29
Lawrence J. O'Neill UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
a putative class action lawsuit brought by Plaintiff Luis
Guerrero, who was formerly employed by Defendant Halliburton
Energy Services, Inc., seeking to represent a class composed
of “[a]ll persons who are employed or have been
employed by Defendant in the State of California as hourly,
Non-Exempt [sic] truck workers, industrial truck workers,
industrial truck drivers, industrial vehicle drivers,
industrial workers, and/or other similar job designations and
titles during the period of the relevant statute of
limitations, ” and several derivative sub-classes. ECF
No. 21 (Second Amended Complaint or “SAC”) ¶
31. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated provisions of
the California Labor Code, Business and Professions Code, and
several of the Industrial Welfare Commission's Wage
Orders for at least four years prior to the 2016 filing of
this action in failing to pay all “straight time wages,
” failing to pay overtime, failing to pay all wages due
at the time of termination, and for unfair business
practices. See Id. ¶¶ 5-17, 24-25.
Court previously adjudicated two of Defendant's motions
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), ECF
Nos. 10 & 20, and provided Plaintiff with one final
opportunity to amend the deficiencies it identified in his
first amended complaint. ECF No. 20 at 16. Plaintiff
subsequently filed the SAC, ECF No. 21, and Defendant
answered, ECF No. 23. Now before the Court are (1)
Defendant's motion to compel individual arbitration (ECF
No. 29) and (2) Defendant's protective motion to stay
pending a Supreme Court decision, or alternatively, pending
appellate review of any denial of Defendant's pending
motion to compel (ECF No. 38). Both matters are fully
briefed, and have been submitted for a decision on the papers
pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). ECF Nos. 35 & 42.
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion
to stay these proceedings pending the Supreme Court's
forthcoming decision in Ernst & Young LLP v.
Morris, Dkt. No. 16-300 and HOLDS IN ABEYANCE
Defendant's motion to compel arbitration.
following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's sworn
declaration (ECF No. 31-1) and judicially noticeable
documents filed in conjunction with the parties'
Plaintiff's Employment and Signing of the Arbitration
worked as a driver for Defendant from approximately May 5,
2014 to January 12, 2015. Guerrero Decl. ¶ 2. On March
3, 2014, Plaintiff submitted an online application for
employment to be a driver for Defendant, in which he
acknowledged the arbitration provision. Id.
¶¶ 3-4. Specifically, the application that
Plaintiff completed contained the following disclosure:
I agree that, in return for its consideration of my
application for employment, any dispute between Halliburton
Energy Services, Inc. and me related to the application
process will be resolved under the Halliburton Dispute
Resolution Program [“DRP” or “Plan”],
and that I may obtain a copy of the DRP from the Human
Resources Department. I understand that this means that
disputes involving legal issues must be submitted to binding
arbitration, and that I am waiving any right to maintain a
lawsuit or have a jury trial for any such dispute. I also
understand that this does not obligate Halliburton Energy
Services, Inc. to employ me, but that if I am employed, any
dispute between Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and me
relating to my employment also will be subject to the DRP.
Merritt Decl. (ECF No. 29-1) ¶ 10; Id., Ex. A.
March 19, 2014, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter offering
him employment as a driver. Guerrero Decl. ¶ 5. The
offer letter stated that Plaintiff's acceptance of
employment with Defendant “means you also agree to and
are bound by the terms of the Halliburton Dispute Resolution
Program … This will be true during your employment and
after your employment should terminate.” Merritt Decl.
¶ 14; Id., Ex. C.
accepted Defendant's offer and began employment with
Defendant as a driver on May 5, 2014. Guerrero Decl. ¶
6. On May 5, 2014, Plaintiff received and executed a
“Driver Responsibilities Agreement, ” which
included a provision that indicated that his signature of the
agreement amounted to his agreement that “[a]ny
disputes arising under or in any way related to the Agreement
shall be resolved exclusively through the Halliburton Dispute
Resolution Program which includes binding arbitration as its
last step.” Id. ¶ 7; Merritt Decl. ¶
15; Id., Ex. D.
avers that he did not have the opportunity to review or ask
questions about the three mandatory arbitration agreements he
signed in connection with his employment with Defendant, nor
was he given the opportunity to negotiate the terms of the
arbitration agreements, which were presented to him on
pre-typed forms. Guerrero Decl. ¶¶ 8-9,
13. None of the three arbitration agreements Plaintiff signed
had an opt-out provision. Id. ¶ 14.
The Terms of the DRP
three instances-when he executed his employment application,
accepted the offer letter, and signed the Driver
Responsibilities Agreement upon beginning employment-each of
which incorporated the DRP by reference, see Merritt
Decl. ¶¶ 10, 14, 15, Plaintiff agreed that
“[a]ll disputes not otherwise settled by the Parties
shall be finally and conclusively resolved through
arbitration under this Plan and the Rules, instead of through
trial before a Court, ” and that “[p]roceedings
under the Plan, including arbitration, shall be the
exclusive, final and binding method by which Disputes are
resolved. DRP Plan (ECF No. 29-2, Ex. A) at 5.
further provides, in relevant part, as follows:
“Dispute” means all legal and equitable claims,
demands, and controversies, of whatever nature or kind,
whether in contract, tort, under statute or regulation, or
some other law, between persons bound by the Plan or by an
agreement to resolve Disputes under the Plan …
including, but no limited to, any matters with respect to
… [t]he employment or potential re-employment of an
Employee, including the terms, conditions or termination of
such employment with the Company; … [a]ny other matter
relating to or concerning the relationship between the
Employee and the Company including, by way of example and
without limitation, allegations of … failure to pay
Each Dispute shall be arbitrated on an individual basis.
Neither the Company nor any Employee or Applicant may pursue
any Dispute on a class action, collective action or
consolidated basis or in a representative capacity on behalf
of other persons or entities who are claimed to be similarly
situated, or participate as a class member in such a
proceeding. The arbitrator in any proceeding under this ...