United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
E.K. PRATTER United States District Judge.
Motors, Inc., d/b/a Carousel Hyundai, has moved to dismiss
Erik Dimattei's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and, in the alternative, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court finds a lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and will invoke Rule 12(b)(1) to dismiss the
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Dimattei is a former employee of Carousel Hyundai, where he
worked as an automotive detailer. He alleges that he worked
full-time hours, but was paid per car. According to the
Complaint, Carousel Hyundai paid him $50 per car and assumed
that he spent five hours on each car, without regard to the
number of hours it would actually take for Mr. Dimattei to
complete a single car's detailing job.
about June 11, 2015, Mr. Dimattei was diagnosed with a stress
fracture of his left tibia, rendering him unable to work. Mr.
Dimattei alleges that he discussed taking medical leave with
his manager, Philip DiGuiseppe, to accommodate his injury,
but that the request was denied. He instead exercised his
short term disability insurance policy and stayed home for
approximately nine weeks. After his physician cleared him to
return to work on August 10, 2015, he returned to Carousel
Hyundai, where Mr. Dimattei alleges he was told that he was
no longer needed.
Dimattei brings claims under the Americans With Disabilities
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (Count I), the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Const. Stat. Ann.
§ 951 et seq. (Count II), the Family Medical
Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (Count III,
IV, V), and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law,
43 P.S. § 260 et seq. (Count VI). Carousel
Hyundai filed a motion to dismiss the complaint under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), arguing that the dispute
was subject to a valid arbitration agreement. In the
alternative, Carousel Hyundai argues that the Complaint fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides that a court may
dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
over a case. It is the plaintiff's burden to prove
subject matter jurisdiction. See Gibbs v. Buck, 307
U.S. 66, 72 (1939); Mortensen v. First Federal
Savings & Loan Ass'n., 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d
Cir. 1977) (“[T]he plaintiff will have the burden of
proof that jurisdiction does in fact exist.”).
challenge to subject matter jurisdiction may be facial or
factual. In a factual challenge, the court may consider
evidence outside the pleadings. Jones, 2014 WL
3887733, at *2 (citing Gould Electronics Inc. v. United
States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3d Cir. 2000)). In a Rule
12(b)(1) motion, “Defendant questions the existence of
subject matter jurisdiction in fact, and there is, therefore,
no presumptive truthfulness attached to the Plaintiffs'
allegations.” Bro Tech Corp., 2000 WL 1751094,
Hyundai moves to dismiss Mr. Dimattei's complaint on the
grounds that a valid arbitration agreement precludes the
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. The Federal
Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.
(“FAA”) governs arbitration agreements. It
provides that written agreements to submit to arbitration
“shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save
upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the
revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. Under
the FAA, “[a] party aggrieved by the . . . refusal of
another to arbitrate under a written agreement for
arbitration may petition any United States district court . .
. for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the
manner provided for in such agreement.” 9 U.S.C. §
4. To compel arbitration under the FAA, a court must conclude
that two conditions are met: (1) the parties entered into a
valid agreement to arbitrate, and (2) the plaintiff's
claims fall within the scope of that arbitration agreement.
See John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Olick, 151
F.3d 132, 137 (3d Cir. 1998); Allstate Ins. Co.,
2008 WL 183651, at *2. District courts need only to engage in
a “limited review” to ensure that the dispute is
arbitrable, and “in conducting th[at] limited review,
the court must apply ordinary contractual principles, with a
healthy regard for the strong federal policy in favor of
arbitration.” Olick, 151 F.3d at 137.
“The presumption in favor of arbitration applies to the
second question but probably does not apply to the first
question.” Century Indem. Co. v. Certain
Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, 584 F.3d 513, 527
(3d Cir. 2009).
Hyundai argues that both requirements are satisfied here, and
the Court agrees. The arbitration agreement, which Mr.
Dimattei and Carousel Hyundai Dated: October 18, 2013 (well
before Mr. Dimattei left Carousel Hyundai for medical
reasons) states, in relevant part:
Employer and Employee have determined that they would prefer
to arbitrate any dispute arising between them, instead of
going to court before a judge or jury. Employer and Employee
therefore mutually agree that any Dispute between them
(including any dispute involving an employee or agent of
Employer) shall be submitted to binding arbitration. Employer
and Employee mutually agree to waive any right to present any
dispute between them to a court, to a judge, or to a jury.
For purposes of this Agreement the term “Dispute”
means any claim, dispute, difference, or controversy, whether
or not related to or arising out of the employment
relationship, and including any claim, dispute, difference,
or controversy (i) arising under any federal, state or local
statute or ordinance (including claims of discrimination or
harassment); (ii) based on any ...