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Broussard v. GameStop, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

August 31, 2017

ANGELENA BROUSSARD, Plaintiff,
v.
GAMESTOP, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION RE: DKT. NO. 8

          EDWARD J. DAVILA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant GameStop, Inc. moves to compel Plaintiff Angelina Broussard to arbitrate her claims. Because Broussard's claims fall within the scope of a valid arbitration agreement, GameStop's motion will be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         GameStop hired Broussard in 2009. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Compel Arbitration (“Opp'n”) 1, Dkt. No. 9. GameStop operated a dispute-resolution program called “GameStop C.A.R.E.S.” to arbitrate disputes between GameStop and its employees. Id.; Def.'s Mot. to Compel Arb. (“Mot.”) 2, Dkt. No. 8. When she was hired, Broussard signed a document acknowledging that she had received the rules of the GameStop C.A.R.E.S. program. Opp'n 1-2; Mot. 2-3. She was given sixty days to opt out, but she did not do so. Mot. 3.

         In 2014, GameStop updated its associate handbook but did not change the rules of the arbitration process. Mot. 2-3. Broussard acknowledged receipt of the updated handbook and again agreed to the GameStop C.A.R.E.S. rules. Id.

         GameStop terminated Broussard's employment in August 2015. Opp'n 2. Broussard filed her complaint in this Court on October 20, 2016, bringing claims for (1) disability discrimination in violation of Cal. Gov't Code § 12940(a); (2) failure to engage in the interactive process in violation of Cal. Gov't Code § 12940(n); (3) failure to accommodate disability in violation of Cal. Gov't Code § 12940(m); (4) failure to prevent discrimination in violation of Cal. Gov't Code § 12940(k); (5) interference under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act in violation of Cal. Gov't Code § 12945.2; and (6) wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Compl. ¶¶ 29-114, Dkt. No. 1.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), written arbitration agreements “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the avoidance of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2 (2012). The FAA “leaves no place for the exercise of discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that district courts shall direct the parties to proceed to arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement has been signed.” Chiron Corp. v. Ortho Diagnostic Sys., Inc., 207 F.3d 1126, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218 (1985)). A district court's role is limited to determining (1) whether the parties agreed to arbitrate and, if so, (2) whether the claims at issue are within the scope of that agreement. Id. If the party seeking arbitration meets these two requirements, the court must compel arbitration. 9 U.S.C. § 4; Chiron, 207 F.3d at 1130.

         If a contract contains an arbitration clause, the clause is presumed to be valid. AT&T Techs., Inc. v. Commc'ns Workers of Am., 475 U.S. 643, 650 (1986). “[A]ny doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration.” Three Valleys Mun. Water Dist. v. E.F. Hutton & Co., 925 F.2d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 1991). The party opposing arbitration has the burden of showing that an arbitration clause is invalid or otherwise unenforceable. Engalla v. Permanente Med. Grp., Inc., 15 Cal.4th 951, 972 (1997).

         Nonetheless, “arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has not agreed so to submit.” AT&T, 475 U.S. at 648 (quoting Steelworkers v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co., 363 U.S. 574, 582 (1960)). General contract law principles govern the interpretation and enforcement of arbitration agreements. First Options of Chicago v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 944 (1995).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Broussard argues that GameStop's arbitration agreement is invalid because it is procedurally and substantively unconscionable. As discussed below, the Court finds that the agreement is valid.

         A. Procedural Unconscionability

         Broussard argues that the agreement is procedurally unconscionable because GameStop gave her the relevant documents “without giving her the opportunity to review them.” Opp'n 5. The agreement is “oppressive, ” she argues, because “GameStop never provided Broussard the GameStop C.A.R.E.S. ...


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