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Couch v. AT&T Servs., Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

December 31, 2014

CHRISTOPHER COUCH, Plaintiff,
v.
AT&T SERVICES, INC., Defendant

For the Plaintiff: Jason Bernbach, Esq., BERNBACH LAW FIRM PLLC, White Plains, New York.

For the Defendant: Patrick W. Shea, Esq., PAUL HASTINGS LLP, New York, New York.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Denis R. Hurley, United States Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Christopher Couch (" Couch") brings this action against defendant AT& T Services, Inc. (" AT& T"), claiming that AT& T discriminated against him on the basis of his age, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (" ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., the New York State Human Rights Law (" NYSHRL"), N.Y. Exec. Law, Article 15, § 290 et seq., and the New York City Human Rights Law (" NYCHRL"), NYC Admin. Code § § 8-101 et seq., as amended by the Local Civil Rights Restoration Act of 2005. Presently before the Court is AT& T's motion to compel arbitration pursuant to Section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act (" FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 4, and thus dismiss the pending Complaint as all of the claims are subject to arbitration. For the reasons stated below, AT& T's motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the Complaint and the papers submitted by the parties in connection with the instant motion.

Couch, a sixty-two year-old male, was employed by AT& T from April 28, 2008 until he was discharged on July 6, 2012. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 5, 8.) According to AT& T, during late 2011 and early 2012, it sent emails to its employees to notify them that a program was being implemented by the company under which all disputes between the company and its employees would be resolved by binding arbitration. (Declaration of Kathleen A. Matyola, dated June 27, 2013 (" Matyola Decl.") at ¶ 2; Declaration of Jeremy Dunlap, dated June 24, 2013 (" Dunlap Decl.") at ¶ ¶ 4, 5, 6.) In that regard, AT& T asserts that on December 5, 2011, and again on December 16, 2011 and January 16, 2012, it sent emails to Couch's company email address containing the subject heading " Action Required: Arbitration Agreement." (Dunlap Decl. at ¶ 8 & Exh. 1.) The contents of the emails stated:

Action Required: Notice Regarding Arbitration Agreement
AT& T has created an alternative process for resolving disputes between the company and employees. Under this process, employees and the company would use independent, third-party arbitration rather than courts or juries to resolve legal disputes. Arbitration is more informal than a lawsuit in court, and may be faster.
The decision on whether or not to participate is yours to make. To help make your decision, it is very important for you to review the Management Arbitration Agreement linked to this email. It provides important information on the process and the types of disputes that are covered by the Agreement.
Again, the decision is entirely up to you. To give you time to consider your decision, the company has established a deadline of no later than 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 to opt out - that is, decline to participate in the arbitration process -- using the instructions below.
If you do not opt out by the deadline, you are agreeing to the arbitration process as set forth in the Agreement. This means that you and AT& T are giving up the right to a court or jury trial on claims covered by the Agreement.
Instructions for " Opting Out" of the Agreement:
To opt out of the agreement, after you open the attached document, follow the link provided there to the site where you will be able to ...

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