United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
SANDRA M. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
LENDMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.
Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge
Sandra M. Davis filed this employment action on March 25,
2015. Defendant Lendmark Financial Services, LLC moved to
compel arbitration. The court denied the motion without
prejudice and set this matter down for a jury trial on the
discrete factual issue of whether the parties entered into an
agreement to arbitrate. On May 20, 2016, the jury returned a
verdict favorable to Lendmark, finding Lendmark proved Davis
electronically accepted an offer of employment that included
an agreement to arbitrate, and that Davis received notice of
Lendmark's Arbitration Program and Agreement during her
employment and agreed to comply with its terms and conditions
by continuing to work there. No post-trial motions were
status conference on June 27, 2016, Lendmark renewed its
motion to compel arbitration, which the court granted by
Order entered June 29, 2016. The case was stayed pending
arbitration pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 3, and the parties
were directed to advise the court of the status of the case
every six months until arbitration proceedings had concluded.
status report filed October 27, 2017, Davis indicated that
the arbitrator had granted summary judgment in Lendmark's
favor, and that the arbitration had concluded. Accordingly,
the court entered an Order directing Davis to show cause as
to why this case should not be dismissed and stricken from
the active docket of the court.
three-paragraph responsive filing, Davis asserts this case
should not be dismissed, referencing her memorandum in
opposition to Lendmark's motion to compel arbitration
filed two years earlier, and incorporating by reference
generally the objections raised at the May 2016 trial that
were overruled by the court. Davis further asserts without
support that "the summary judgment opinion issued by
Arbitrator Wade is clearly contrary to the law of this
Circuit and the facts were not taken in the light most
favorable to plaintiff and were erroneously assessed in a
disaggregated fashion." PL's Resp., ECF No. 102.
Davis again relies on and incorporates by reference generally
her memorandum in opposition to Lendmark's motion for
summary judgment filed before the arbitrator, which she
attaches as an exhibit to her response to the Show Cause
Order filed in this court.
part, Lendmark takes the position that nothing further need
be done in this. matter, except for Lendmark's request
for entry of judgment. Lendmark argues in a reply brief filed at
the direction of the court that Davis offers no support
whatsoever for her assertion that the motion to compel
arbitration should have been denied and that the
arbitrator's decision is clearly erroneous and contrary
to law. The court agrees with Lendmark.
were no post-trial motions filed following the jury verdict
in this case-nor is there any motion currently pending
before the court for that matter. Davis cannot now argue (in
two lines of a response to a Show Cause Order, with no
support other than vague reference to arguments and
objections previously raised and overruled by the court more
than a year ago) that the court's decision to stay this
matter in favor of arbitration was erroneous and that this
action therefore ought not be dismissed. Similarly, Davis
offers no explanation or support for her position that the
arbitrator's award is "clearly contrary to the law
of this Circuit, " referencing only her brief filed in
opposition to summary judgment. Davis has not formally moved
to vacate the arbitrator's decision. But even if she did,
the simple fact that she disagrees with the arbitrator's
ruling is not grounds for the court to review that decision.
"The process and extent of federal judicial review of an
arbitration award are substantially circumscribed."
Patten v. Signator Ins. Agency» Inc.. 441 F.3d
230, 234 (4th Cir. 2006). Parties seeking to vacate an
arbitration award shoulder a heavy burden. Id. at
235. The Federal Arbitration Act sets forth grounds that may
form the basis for vacatur of an arbitration award:
(1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or
(2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the
arbitrators, or either of them;
(3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in
refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause
shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material
to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by which the
rights of any party have been prejudiced; or
(4) where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so
imperfectiy executed them that a mutual, final, and definite
award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.
9 U.S.C. § 10(a). There is no suggestion that any of
these grounds is present in the instant case.
federal court may also vacate an arbitrator's award upon
a showing of limited common law grounds, such as where an
award "evidences a manifest disregard of the law."
Patten. 441 F.3d at 234. While this is what Davis
hints at, she offers no support whatsoever for the
proposition that the arbitrator in this case acted
"clearly contrary to the law of this Circuit."
PL's' Resp., ECF No. 102. No colorable grounds for
vacatur of the arbitration award have been presented to the
put, there is nothing further for the court to do in this
case. The court determined following a jury trial that the
parties entered into a valid agreement to arbitrate. It
stayed this case to allow arbitration to proceed. Davis
indicates the arbitration proceedings have now concluded and
the arbitrator issued an award on the merits in
Lendmark's favor. There are no motions pending before the
court and no claims left for ...