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Dimattei v. Diskin Motors, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 6, 2017



          GENE E.K. PRATTER United States District Judge.

         Diskin 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 Complaint.


         Mr. 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.

         On or 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.

         Mr. 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.

         LEGAL STANDARD[1]

         Federal 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.”).

         A 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, at *2.


         Carousel Hyundai moves to dismiss Mr. Dimattei's complaint on the grounds that a valid arbitration agreement precludes the Court's subject matter jurisdiction.[2] 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).

         Carousel 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 ...

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