state law claims when the federal court will in any event assert jurisdiction over non-arbitrable federal claims, the Supreme Court determined that arbitration of the pendent claims was required as a matter of federal law. "The relevant federal law requires piecemeal resolution when necessary to give effect to an arbitration agreement". Dean Witter, supra, at 1242. This is true even where the substantive provisions of the state law are so legally and factually "intertwined" with the federal non-arbitrable claims that judicial economy would dictate that the claims be tried together in federal court. The court expressly denied that efficiency had any relevance in light of the Arbitration Act's mandate. Id. In essence the court concluded that the Arbitration Act, by its terms, "leaves no place for the exercise of discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that the district courts shall direct the parties to proceed to arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement has been signed". Id. at 1241.
Though plaintiff's claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination mirror the claims under the ADEA, and though the claims are legally and factually interdependent, Dean Witter divests this court of all discretion to waive arbitration and try the pendent claims with plaintiff's ADEA action. Plaintiff forcefully argues that the state of New Jersey has modeled its statute upon Title VII and that the state court would read the Law Against Discrimination as precluding arbitration. See Thornton v. Potamkin Chevrolet, 94 N.J. 1, 462 A.2d 133 (1983); Hahn v. Arbat Systems Ltd., 200 N.J. Super. 266, 491 A.2d 58 (App. Div. 1985). Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has made clear that the Arbitration Act compels arbitration unless there is a countervailing Congressional interest expressed in another federal statute. Where as here, the statute in question is a state statute, such that no Congressional intent is involved, the Arbitration Act must be strictly enforced. See Williams v. Smith Barney, No. L-025739-84 (Law Div. Bergen Cty.) (court ordered arbitration of a registered representative's sex discrimination claims brought under the Law Against Discrimination).
The court therefore grants defendant's motion to compel arbitration of the state law claims. However, the court notes that the Supreme Court has left open the question of whether any fact finding by the arbitrator with regard to the pendent claims can bind this court's fact finding with respect to the ADEA challenge. Dean Witter, 105 S. Ct. at 1244. Without ruling, this court states its inclination to reject any argument that the determinations of the arbitrator on common issues of fact will have a collateral estoppel effect on this court's adjudication of plaintiff's ADEA claims. The issue is as yet unripe, and the court will reserve judgment until, and if, the collateral estoppel question is raised subsequent to the grievance proceeding.
The court also urges the parties to discuss means to avoid duplicative proceedings and the costs in time and money incident thereto, particularly since the arbitration proceeding is unlikely to have any preclusive effect upon the federal action.
Defendant's motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff's ADEA claim is hereby denied. The court reluctantly grants defendant's motion to compel arbitration of the pendent state claims.
This matter having been opened to the court on application of the defendant, Smith Barney, Harris Upham, Co., Inc., pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et. seq., seeking to compel arbitration of plaintiff's Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et. seq., claims and related state claims, and the court having heard oral argument and having considered the submissions of the parties, for the reasons set forth in the accompanying opinion
IT IS this 4th day of June, 1987 hereby
ORDERED that defendant's motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff's Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim is denied; and it is further
ORDERED that defendant's motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff's pendent state claims is granted.