Hernandez v. Global Prisoner Services, LLC D/b/a Texas Prisoner Transportation Services

Western District of Texas, txwd-5:2019-cv-00374

MOTION to Compel Arbitration by Global Prisoner Services, LLC. Motions referred to Judge Richard B. Farrer.

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS SAN ANTONIO DISTRICT AMANDA HERNANDEZ, individually and) on behalf of All Others Similarly Situated,))) Plaintiff,)) No.: 5:19-cv-00374-FB v.)) GLOBAL PRISONER SERVICES, LLC) d/b/a TEXAS PRISONER) TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, PTS OF)) AMERICA, LLC, and RYAN WHITTEN,)) Defendants. GLOBAL PRISONER SERVICES, LLC AND RYAN WHITTEN'S MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION, AND DISMISS THIS CASE PENDING THE OUTCOME OF ARBITRATION Defendants Global Prisoner Services, LLC ("GPS"), and Ryan Whitten file move this Court to compel arbitration of Plaintiff's claims and dismiss this case during the pendency of arbitration. 1 As ground, these Defendants state as follows: 1. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserts claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). These claims are based upon her employment with GPS as an extradition officer. (Amend Compl. ¶ 15). 2. As demonstrated by the Declaration of Ryan Whitten on Behalf of Global Prisoner Services, LLC ("Whitten Dec."), Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement when she became 1 Counsel for these Defendants has inquired with counsel for all other parties regarding this motion. PTS is in agreement with this motion. As for the Plaintiff, Plaintiff's counsel and counsel for these Defendants have discussed this motion telephonically, and Plaintiff's counsel has requested sufficient time to speak with his client and to consider whether to agree to this motion (or whether to oppose it). These Defendants have no objection to the Plaintiff having adequate time to consider these matters, and will gladly agree to an extension of time for a response to be filed in excess of the time allowed by the Local Rules. employed with GPS. (Whitten Dec. at Exhibit 1). The agreement include a class and collection action waiver, and reads as follows: By signing below, accepting a position with GPS, or continuing to work for GPS, you agree that all claims you may have, or acquire, against GPS, which would exist under the Fair Labor Standard Act, Title VII, or any other state or federal law-- excluding workers' compensation acts and reports to the National Labor Relations Board—are subject to mandatory arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and any state-level arbitration acts in the states of Texas and Tennessee, and that such arbitration may be compelled if a suit is filed in a court by you or on your behalf. You also agree to waive the right to proceed as part of a class action, or collective action, in such an arbitration—but not to waive your right to proceed as an individual, with the assistance of an attorney, in such an arbitration. 3. As the Fifth Circuit held in Kubala v. Supreme Prod. Servs., Inc., 830 F.3d 199, 201 (5th Cir. 2016): Enforcement of an arbitration agreement involves two analytical steps. The first is contract formation—whether the parties entered into any arbitration agreement at all. The second involves contract interpretation to determine whether this claim is covered by the arbitration agreement. Ordinarily both steps are questions for the court. 4. In this case, both of the conditions required by Kubala are met. There is a contract, as shown by the agreement itself, and by Plaintiff's admission in the Amended Complaint that she worked for GPS. Then, the claims brought in this case—FLSA claims—are explicitly referenced in the agreement as being claims which are within the scope of the agreement to arbitrate. Thus, this Court should compel arbitration in this matter. 5. Given the existence of the arbitration agreement signed by Plaintiff, the Court should dismiss this case, including any collective action proceedings—which were waived by operation of the arbitration agreement—but retain jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the results of the arbitration proceeding. 2 Respectfully Submitted: S/ Sean C. Wlodarczyk Sean C. Wlodarczyk (30410) CORNELIUS & COLLINS, LLP Suite 1500, Nashville City Center 511 Union Street P. O. Box 190695 Nashville, Tennessee 37219 (615) 244-1440 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I do hereby certify that a true and exact copy of the foregoing has been sent the Court's PACER / ECF system, to the following, on this 6th day of November, 2019 Melissa Moore (24013189) Mary E. Buckley (24101571) Curt Hesse (24065414) Gregory J. Northen, (Ark Bar #20111891) Moore & Associates Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, PC Lyric Centre 500 President Clinton Avenue, Suite 200 440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675 Little Rock, AR 72201 Houston, TX 77002 S/ Sean C. Wlodarczyk Sean C. Wlodarczyk 3