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Ashbey v. Archstone Property Management, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

May 12, 2015

MICHAEL ASHBEY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ARCHSTONE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, INC., a corporation, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California March 4, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 8:12-cv-00009-DOC-RNB. David O. Carter, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY [*]

The panel held that employee Michael Ashbey knowingly waived his right to a judicial forum for his Title VII claim and equivalent state-law claims, reversed the district court's order denying Archstone Property Management, Inc.'s motion to compel arbitration, and remanded for entry of an order granting Archstone's motion.

The scope of the Federal Arbitration Act is narrowed by federal statutes, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which limits " the enforcement of arbitration agreements with regard to claims arising under" the statute. Kummetz v. Tech Mold, Inc., 152 F.3d 1153, 1155 (9th Cir. 1998).

The panel held that the case was distinguishable from Kummetz and Nelson v. Cyprus Bagdad Copper Corp., 119 F.3d 756 (9th Cir. 1997), because Archstone presented its employee the " express" choice lacking in Kummetz and Nelson where the employee signed an acknowledgment that explicitly notified him that Archstone's Company Policy Manual contained a Dispute Resolution Policy section explaining Archstone's arbitration policy, and the employee expressly agreed to adhere to the policy. The panel concluded that the arbitration provision was enforceable.

Henry D. Lederman (argued), Littler Mendelson, P.C., Walnut Creek, California; Connie L. Michaels and Sarah E. Ross, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Los Angeles, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

Avi Burkwitz (argued) and Diana Ratcliff, Peterson Bradford Burkwitz, Burbank, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Susan R. Oxford (argued), Attorney, P. David Lopez, General Counsel, Carolyn L. Wheeler, Acting Associate General Counsel, and Lorraine C. Davis, Assistant General Counsel, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Before: Jay S. Bybee, Carlos T. Bea, and Morgan Christen, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1321

BEA, Circuit Judge:

Defendant Archstone Communities LLC (" Archstone" ) appeals from the district court's denial of its Motion to Compel Arbitration. We reverse the district court's order and remand for entry of an order granting Archstone's Motion to Compel Arbitration.

I.

Michael Ashbey was employed at Archstone from December 1996 until November 2010, when he was fired. He began as a Service Technician and was promoted to Regional Service Manager in 2003.

In 2009, Ashbey signed a document entitled " Acknowledgment of ...


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