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Joseph v. Trueblue, Inc.

United States District Court, Western District of Washington, Tacoma

February 11, 2015

DANIEL JOSEPH, an individual, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
TRUEBLUE, INC, d/b/a LABOR READY, INC., and TRUEBLUE, INC., Washington corporations, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY LITIGATION

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant TrueBlue, Inc., d/b/a Labor Ready, Inc. and TrueBlue, Inc.’s (collectively “TrueBlue”)[1] motion to compel arbitration and stay litigation (Dkt. 43). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby denies the motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 25, 2014, Plaintiff Daniel Joseph (“Joseph”) filed a class action complaint against TrueBlue asserting numerous violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C § 227, et seq. (“TCPA”). Dkt. 1.

On January 8, 2015, TrueBlue filed the instant motion requesting that the Court compel the parties to arbitration and stay this action. Dkt. 43. On January 26, 2015, Joseph responded. Dkt. 46. On January 30, 2015, TrueBlue replied. Dkt. 48.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On December 10, 2013, Joseph signed an “Employment and Dispute Resolution” agreement with Labor Ready, a TrueBlue company. Dkt. 44, Declaration of Todd Gilman (“Gilman Decl.”), Exh. A (“Arbitration Agreement”). The agreement provides, in relevant part, as follows:

Agreement to arbitrate. Labor Ready and I agree that for any claim arising out of or relating to my employment, application for employment, and/or termination of employment, this Agreement, or the breach of this Agreement, shall be submitted to and resolved by binding individual arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). Labor Ready and I agree that all claims shall be submitted to arbitration including, but not limited to, claims based on any alleged violation of a constitution, or any federal, state, or local laws; Title VII claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wages, compensation due or violation of civil rights; or any claim based in tort, contract, or equity. In no way does this agreement limit an employee’s ability to bring claims before the NLRB, EEOC, or any local, state or federal governmental or administrative agency, or the procedures of those agencies.
Scope of Arbitration. Labor Ready and I agree that arbitration in no way limits the relief that any party may seek in the jurisdiction in which arbitration has been filed. LABOR READY AND I AGREE THAT EACH MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY IN MY OR ITS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS ACTION, COLLECTIVE ACTION, OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING. Further, unless both Labor Reedy and I agree otherwise, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one person’s claims, and may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding. If this specific provision is found to be unenforceable, then the entirety of this arbitration provision shall be null and void. Notwithstanding the foregoing, either party may bring an individual action in small claims court.

Id.

On that same day, Joseph entered into a “Dispatch and Employment Terms and Conditions” agreement. Gilman Decl., Exh. B (“Text Agreement”). That agreement provides, in relevant part, as follows:

Consent to Text Message Contact. In order to receive alerts regarding potential job opportunities (“Job Alerts") and other messages related to my actual or prospective employment (such as general announcements and safely tips) and for other purposes, I agree that Labor Ready and its affiliates, agents, service providers, business partners, successors, and/or assigns (“Company”) may contact me by telephone at any telephone number that I have provided to Company or will provide to Company, including telephone numbers that are or may be assigned to wireless devices. I acknowledge and agree that Company may place such telephone calls by voice call and/or text messaging (including SMS and/or MMS text messages). I further agree that Company may place such telephone calls through the use of pre-recorded/artificial voice messages and/or tile use of an automatic telephone dialing device. I understand that Company may contact me by telephone, including by text messaging, any day of the week and at any time, and understand that I may incur charges related to such contact in accordance with my wireless telephone plan otherwise. . . . I waive any right to a legal action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or any similar state or federal law, in connection with any telephone contact from Company.

Id.

III. DISCUSSION


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