United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
ASHLEY M. ROHDE, Plaintiff,
FAMILY DOLLAR STORES OF INDIANA, LLC, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, or in the Alternative to Stay, and to Compel
Arbitration [ECF No. 15]. Ashley M. Rohde, a Plaintiff
proceeding pro se, has sued her former employer, the
Defendant, Family Dollar Stores of Indiana, LLC, for
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) and retaliation for asserting a right to benefits under
the Indiana Workers Compensation Act. The Defendant requests
that the Court dismiss all claims against the Defendant or,
in the alternative, stay this action pursuant to the Federal
Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and Rule 12
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and compel the
parties to pursue arbitration. For the reasons stated herein,
the Court dismisses the Plaintiff's Complaint [ECF No.
burden to avoid compelled arbitration is analogous to that
required to successfully oppose summary judgment under Rule
56. Tinder v. Pinkerton Sec., 305 F.3d 728, 735 (7th
Cir. 2002). That is, “the opposing party must
demonstrate that a genuine issue of material fact warranting
a trial exists.” Id. “Just as in summary
judgment proceedings, a party cannot avoid compelled
arbitration by generally denying the facts upon which the
right to arbitration rests; the party must identify specific
evidence in the record demonstrating a material factual
dispute for trial.” Id. The Court also notes
that the summary judgment standard is appropriate because the
Defendant has presented matters outside the pleadings in
support of their Motion to Dismiss. See Fed. R. Civ.
Defendant maintains that the parties entered into an
arbitration agreement (Arbitration Agreement) to arbitrate
all claims arising out of or related to the Plaintiff's
employment at Family Dollar.
The Plaintiff's Employment with Family Dollar
Plaintiff was an employee of the Defendant, located in Fort
Wayne, Indiana. (Neeley Decl. ¶ 8, ECF No. 17-1.) The
Plaintiff accepted employment with the Defendant on August 5,
2015, at which time she completed her onboarding process.
(Id. ¶¶ 8, 19.) The Defendant uses an
electronic onboarding system called “Taleo”
through which the Defendant presents onboarding materials to
new hires and maintains records of employees' receipt,
review, and acknowledgment of all materials presented through
this system. (Id. ¶¶ 7-8, 19.)
the onboarding process, the Plaintiff received a written
offer of employment with the Defendant on August 5, 2015.
(Id. ¶ 6, Ex. A.) The offer letter informed the
Plaintiff that executing the Family Dollar Mutual Agreement
to Arbitrate Claims (the “Arbitration
Agreement”) was a condition of employment with Family
Dollar, stating specifically:
Additionally, as a condition of employment with Family
Dollar, you will be subject to and requested to execute a
Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate Claims, which will require that
both you and Family Dollar agree to arbitrate covered
disputes, including without limitation, disputes arising out
of or in connection with the employment relationship.
(Id.) The Plaintiff accepted employment with Family
Dollar when she electronically signed the offer letter on
August 5, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 19, Ex. A, Ex. C.)
parties engaged in a standard set of procedures for the
onboarding. The Plaintiff created her own unique username and
password when using Taleo, accepting the offer letter, and
navigating the onboarding documents. (Id.
¶¶10-19, Ex. A, Ex. B, Ex. C.) The Plaintiff was
prompted to click on a link titled “Open
Door/Arbitration Memo.” (Id. ¶ 11, Ex.
B.) After clicking on the link, she was taken to an
electronic letter from the Defendant regarding the
“Open Door Communication Guidelines/Mutual Agreement to
Arbitrate Claims.” (Id. ¶ 12, Ex. B at
1.) This letter provided the Plaintiff with a summary of the
Defendant's “Open Door Guidelines” and
explicitly informed her that she and the ...