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Jones v. Dish Network LLC

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

November 26, 2013

THERESA JONES, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DISH NETWORK LLC and ERIC BURROUGHS, Defendants-Appellants.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 19, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Docket No. L-2748-12.

Jackson Lewis, L.L.P., attorneys for appellants (John M. Nolan, of counsel; Janet 0. Lee, on the brief).

Castronovo & McKinney, L.L.C., attorneys for respondent (Paul Castronovo, of counsel; Megan Frese Porio, on the brief).

Before Judges Reisner and Carroll.

PER CURIAM

Defendants Dish Network LLC (DISH) and Eric Burroughs appeal from an order entered by the Law Division on January 29, 2013, denying their motion to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration, following an evidentiary hearing. We reverse.

I.

On July 21, 2010, plaintiff, Theresa Jones, applied to DISH for a position as an installer of television equipment. Plaintiff is a high school graduate, with approximately thirty college credits. At the time plaintiff applied for this job, she was unemployed and homeless. Previously, she had worked in the industry since 1998 for companies such as Hot Wire Communications, Lucent Technologies, and Verizon. DISH extended a written offer of employment to plaintiff on November 17, 2010. The offer letter stated that her employment was contingent upon the completion of all required pre-employment paperwork, including a "Mandatory Arbitration of Disputes — Waiver of Rights Agreement" (the arbitration agreement). It also indicated that if plaintiff had any questions, she should contact her Human Resources representative, Kristen Kasper.

Plaintiff accepted the offer of employment, and began work on December 13, 2010. That day, plaintiff executed the one-page arbitration agreement, which provided that the parties agreed to submit their disputes to the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and waived the right to litigate them in court.

The arbitration agreement specifically provided:

In consideration of the Employee's employment by DISH Network ... as good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the Employee and DISH Network agree that any claim, controversy and/or dispute between them, arising out of and/or in any way related to Employee's application for employment, employment and/or termination of employment, whenever and wherever brought, shall be resolved by arbitration.

The agreement also carved out certain exceptions to the arbitration requirement. Specifically, employee claims for statutory unemployment or worker's compensation benefits, and claims brought under ERISA (29 U.S.C. ยง1002(3)), were exempted from arbitration. Additionally, DISH retained the right to seek injunctive relief with respect to non-competition agreements, intellectual property, and confidential information, in any court of competent jurisdiction. ...


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