United States District Court, D. New Jersey
CYNTHIA CICERO, on behalf of herself and similarly situated employees, Plaintiff,
QUALITY DINING, INC., et al., Defendants.
WINEBRAKE & SANTILLO, LLC By: Peter Winebrake, Esq. R.
Andrew Santillo, Esq. Mark J. Gottesfeld, Esq. BARRETT
JOHNSTON MARTIN & GARRISON LLC By: Jerry Martin, Esq.
Seth Hyatt, Esq. Counsel for Plaintiff
LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C. By: Rachel Fendell Satinsky, Esq.
Holly Elizabeth Rich, Esq. Counsel for Defendants
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Cynthia Cicero brings this Fair Labor Standards Act, 29
U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. (FLSA), and New Jersey Wage
and Hour Law, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:11-56a, et seq., suit
challenging her former employer's tip pooling and tip
credit policies. Defendants move to dismiss the suit, seeking
to enforce the mandatory arbitration agreement and class
action waiver Cicero signed.
reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted,
and Plaintiff's later-filed Motion for Conditional Class
Certification will be dismissed as moot.
allegedly worked at one of Defendants' Chili's
Restaurants in New Jersey until February, 2016. (Amend.
Compl. ¶ 10) On May 8, 2013, while employed by
Defendants, Cicero undisputedly (at least for purposes of
this motion) signed an “Arbitration Agreement”,
which states in relevant part,
1. Employee and the Company mutually agree that any and all
claims or disputes described in paragraph 2 that Employee may
have now or in the future with or against the Company . . .
shall be heard and decided by a neutral arbitrator . . . .
2. The disputes and claims covered by this Agreement include
all claims or controversies, whether or not arising out of
employment or termination of employment, that would
constitute a cause of action in court, including but not
limited to claims for wages or other compensation due . . .
and claims for violation of any federal, state, local or
other governmental law, statute, regulation or ordinance
(including but not limited to claims, if any, based on . . .
the Fair Labor Standards Act . . . and any other federal,
state, or local statute, regulation, ordinance, or common
law, including without limitation any law related to . . .
terms and conditions of employment . . . .
3. The arbitrator's decision shall be final and binding
on Employee and the Company. Employee and the Company
acknowledge that arbitration is a substitute for traditional
litigation and hereby waive their respective rights to file a
private lawsuit and have that suit heard in a court by a
judge or a jury.
4. . . . Only one Employee may be party to any particular
arbitration unless otherwise agreed by the parties. Each
arbitration is limited to the claims of the Employee who is a
party to that arbitration and shall not include claims
pertaining to any other Employee unless otherwise agreed by
(Firth Decl. ¶ 5 and Ex. A)
do not identify the authority pursuant to which they move for
dismissal. The Court construes the application as a
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion because Cicero does not dispute
that she agreed to arbitrate the claims she asserts in this
suit. Guidotti v. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution,
L.L.C., 716 F.3d 764, 776 (3d Cir. ...