United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL
Torresen United States Chief District Judge
the Court is the Defendant's motion to dismiss or stay
the case and to compel arbitration. (ECF No. 9.) For the
reasons stated below, the motion to compel arbitration is
GRANTED and the case is
Peter Garcia brings this employment discrimination action
against MaineGeneral Health
(“MaineGeneral”). The Plaintiff
alleges three counts: a violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
(“ADA”) (Count I); a violation
of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §
621 et seq. (“ADEA”)
(Count II); and a claim of retaliation because of his ADA and
ADEA claims (Count III). Compl. (ECF No. 1).
parties entered a Physician Employment Agreement (the
“Agreement”) in June 2017, which
called for the Plaintiff to be employed as a primary care
physician and medical director. See Compl.
¶¶ 13, 19; Pl.'s Attach. A (ECF No. 1-1);
Agreement (ECF No. 10-1). The Agreement provided that the
Plaintiff's two year term of employment would begin after
he became licensed to practice medicine in Maine. Agreement
1, 9. A resident of Florida, the Plaintiff did not have a
Maine medical license when the Agreement was signed.
See Compl. ¶¶ 4, 22.
Plaintiff had not practiced clinical medicine for a number of
years due to bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, and so he
was unable to produce letters from other physicians attesting
to his clinical competency, as required to receive a medical
license. Compl. ¶¶ 24-26; Pl.'s Attach. C at 3
(ECF No. 1-3). The Defendant agreed to provide a preceptor
program through which MaineGeneral physicians would observe
the Plaintiff in clinical practice and then provide the
necessary letters to the Board of Medicine. Compl. ¶ 27.
A dispute between the parties arose as to the nature and
duration of the observation period that the Plaintiff would
undergo. Compl. ¶¶ 28-33. The Plaintiff also
complained that the Defendant was communicating with the
Board of Medicine about a proposed program without including
him on the messages. Compl. ¶ 38; Pl.'s Attach. C at
5. Following a series of conversations between the parties,
the Defendant informed the Plaintiff on August 17, 2017, that
it planned to unilaterally cancel the contract. Compl. ¶
Agreement contained a provision titled, “ARBITRATION
AND WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL.” Agreement 11. It provides
The parties agree to make a good faith attempt to resolve
informally any and all controversies, disputes, or claims
between the parties, except as specifically set forth herein.
Failing such informal resolution, all such controversies,
disputes, or claims between the parties shall be resolved by
arbitration proceedings conducted in accordance with the
Arbitration Rules of the American Health Lawyers Association
Alternative Dispute Resolution Service
(“AHLA-ADRS”). By agreeing to arbitration, the
parties specifically intend to irrevocably waive, to the
extent permitted by law, any rights that may be afforded to
either party under any and all statutory claims. The
parties' obligations to arbitrate shall be subject to the
following: . . .
6. This arbitration procedure shall be the exclusive means of
settling any and all controversies, disputes, or claims
between the parties, including statutory, common law, or
otherwise; provided, however, that the requirements hereof
shall not apply to (i) any claims or threatened claims
involving professional medical malpractice, (ii) Medical
Staff corrective actions, as applicable, (iii) any decision
not to renew this Agreement, or (iv) claims involving the
confidentiality of information, as contained herein.
Federal Arbitration Act (the
“FAA”) “reflects ‘a
federal liberal policy favoring arbitration agreements.'
” Cullinane v. Uber Techs., Inc., 893 F.3d 53,
60 (1st Cir. 2018) (quoting AT&T Mobility LLC v.
Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333, 346 (2011)). “However,
arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot be
required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has
not agreed so to submit.” Large v. Conseco
Fin. Servicing Corp., 292 F.3d 49, 52 (1st Cir.
2002) (quotation marks omitted). The FAA provides that
“[a] party aggrieved by the alleged failure, neglect,
or refusal of another to arbitrate under a written agreement
for arbitration may petition any United States district court
. . . for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in
the manner provided for in such agreement.” 9 U.S.C.
§ 4. The FAA further establishes that
A written provision in . . . a contract evidencing a
transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a
controversy thereafter arising out of such contract . . .
shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon
grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of
9 U.S.C. § 2.
courts will grant a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to
the FAA when “(i) there exists a written agreement to
arbitrate, (ii) the dispute falls within the scope of that
arbitration agreement, and (iii) the party seeking an
arbitral forum has not waived its right to
arbitration.” Combined Energies v. CCI, Inc.,
514 F.3d 168, 171 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting Bangor
Hydro-Elec. Co. v. New England Tel. & Tel. Co., 62
F.Supp.2d 152, 155 (D. Me. 1999)).
Defendant argues that the factors required to compel
arbitration are present and the Court should dismiss, rather
than stay, the case, because all of the Plaintiff's
claims are arbitrable and dismissal makes any appeal more
efficient. Def.'s Mot. 3-5. The Plaintiff maintains that
the motion should be denied. Considering the Plaintiff's
Response along with his Surreply,  I interpret his arguments as
being three fold: (1) that, because he never received his
Maine license to practice medicine, no valid instrument
requiring arbitration ever came into existence; (2) that if
such an agreement was formed, it is unenforceable because it
is unconscionable; and (3) that the Defendant has waived its
right to arbitrate by failing to act in good faith. Pl.'s
Resp. (ECF No. 12). I address each of the Plaintiff's
arguments in turn.
Whether There Is an Enforceable Written ...