Where a woman claimed that she did not sign an agreement requiring her to arbitrate her claims against her former employer, but she failed to offer specific evidence to refute that she electronically signed the agreement, the court found that the arbitration agreement is valid, binding and enforceable.
Erika Jacobs, proceeding pro se, filed this action against her former employer, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, alleging that she was fired because of her race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Quest filed a motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration.
In the Fourth Circuit, a party may compel arbitration if four elements are met: (1) the existence of a dispute between the parties; (2) a written agreement that includes an arbitration provision which purports to cover the dispute; (3) the relationship of the transaction, which is evidenced by the agreement, to interstate or foreign commerce and (4) the failure, neglect or refusal of the plaintiff to arbitrate the dispute.
Quest satisfies each of these requirements. That a dispute exists between the parties is evidenced by this lawsuit. The written arbitration agreement, which Jacobs signed electronically when she began working for Quest, governs this dispute because the agreement explicitly states that it covers Title VII claims. Quest correctly notes that its arbitration agreement with Jacobs implicates interstate commerce because Quest is an out-of-state corporation with a nationwide presence. And Jacobs’ multiple filings in opposition to Quest’s motion indicate her refusal to arbitrate.
Jacobs asserted in a filing related to an earlier motion to dismiss that she did not sign the arbitration agreement. She also stated during oral argument that she did not sign the arbitration agreement. But she does not present any evidence to contradict that she electronically signed the agreement beyond her self-serving statement that she did not do so. Jacobs does not offer specific evidence to refute that she electronically signed the arbitration agreement. Thus, I find that the arbitration agreement is a valid and binding agreement and that it governs this dispute.
Defendant’s motion to dismiss granted.
Jacobs v. Quest Diagnostics Inc., Case No. 7:23-cv-00126, Aug. 16, 2023. WDVA at Roanoke (Ballou). VLW 023-3-481. 7 pp.