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Lea v. Norlyn Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 29, 2019

DUANE LEA, Plaintiff,
v.
NORLYN ENTERPRISES, INC. and WORLDPAC, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION

          RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On June 14, 2018, during a conference on the record with this Court, each of the three parties to this suit agreed to submit this case to arbitration. On that same day, this Court entered an order embodying the parties' agreement and administratively terminating this case. Plaintiff presently moves this Court to vacate that order and seeks to remove the case from arbitration. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion will be denied.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In January 2018, Plaintiff filed this proposed collective action suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., alleging that Defendants failed to pay Plaintiff, and other “drivers” who made local deliveries on behalf of Defendants, the proper amount of wages and overtime compensation. In April 2018, the parties filed letters pursuant to this Court's Individual Rules and Procedures. Defendants asserted that this case should be submitted to arbitration pursuant to the parties' arbitration agreement. [Docket No. 13] In response, Plaintiff requested that the case be stayed pending the Supreme Court's decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, which, Plaintiff asserted, would control this Court's decision concerning whether the parties' arbitration agreement was enforceable. [Docket. No. 14] The Court held a conference on the record on May 1, 2018, the result of which was this Court's order administratively staying the case pending the Supreme Court's ruling in Epic Systems. [Docket No. 19] Just over a month later, Plaintiff wrote to this Court advising that the Supreme Court had ruled.[1] [Docket No. 20] Shortly thereafter, the Court held a second conference on the record with the parties. During that conference, the parties each clearly and unequivocally agreed to submit this case to arbitration:

THE COURT: So, [Plaintiff] what is your pleasure?
MR. FRISCH: I think we would agree that we would file an arbitration against both defendants.
THE COURT: Okay. So both defendants are happy with that?
MR. MARKS: Yes.
MR. MC DONALD: Your Honor, Norlyn consents to that.
THE COURT: All right. Okay, one by one. It sounds like there is no dispute the parties are going to arbitration, both Defendants with the Plaintiff. Yes Mr. Frisch?
MR. FRISCH: Yes.
THE COURT: Worldpac?
COUNSEL FOR WORLDPAC: Yes, individually with the Plaintiff, your Honor.
THE COURT: And Norlyn?
COUNSEL FOR NORLYN: Yes, your Honor, on an individual - on an individual claim, not a class or ...

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