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Fielding v. Dolgen, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

June 21, 2018

ELLEANA FIELDING, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated Plaintiffs,
v.
DOLGEN, LLC t/a DOLGENCORP, LLC and BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD OF TENNESSEE, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION

          John A. Gibney, Jr., United States District Judge

         The plaintiff, Elleana Fielding, claims that her former employer, Dolgen, LLC ("Dollar General"), violated the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") by failing to pay managers overtime and retaliating against her for filing this suit. Fielding also claims that the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") by failing to inform her of her right to continued health insurance. As the Court has found in its recent Opinion on summary judgment, Fielding agreed to abide by Dollar General's Arbitration Agreement (the "Agreement"). The Court now visits Dollar General's motion to compel arbitration and stay the proceedings, and finds that the Agreement covers both the FLSA claims and the ERISA claim against Dollar General. The Court therefore grants the motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings for Fielding's claims against Dollar General. The Court will also stay proceedings for Fielding's claim against her insurance provider, BlueCross BlueShield ("BCBS"), in order to promote judicial efficiency.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Fielding began work as a manager with Dollar General on August 2, 2014. Fielding accessed the Agreement through Dollar General's employee portal shortly after starting work, and agreed to be bound by its terms.[1] The Agreement reads in part:

You agree that, with the exception of certain excluded claims described below, any legal claims or disputes that you may have against Dollar General, its parents and subsidiary corporations, employees, officers and directors arising out of your employment with Dollar General or termination of employment with Dollar General ("Covered Claim" or "Covered Claims") will be addressed in the manner described in this Agreement.
* * *
Class and Collective Action Waiver: You and Dollar General may not assert any class action, collective action, or representative action claims in any arbitration pursuant to this Agreement or in any other forum.
By agreeing to participate in binding arbitration, you and Dollar General acknowledge and agree to the following:
• This Agreement is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act.
• The procedures in this Agreement will be the exclusive means of resolving Covered Claims relating to or arising out of your employment or termination of employment with Dollar General, whether brought by you or Dollar General. This includes, but is not limited to, claims alleging violations of wage and hour laws, . . . retaliation, . . . and claims alleging violation of any other state or federal laws, except claims that are prohibited by law from being decided in arbitration, and those claims specifically excluded in the paragraph below.
• Covered claims do not include claims for... benefits under [ERISA].

(Arbitration Agreement; Dk. No. 14-1 at 6, 7.) Fielding participated in Dollar General's group health benefits plan (the "Plan"), until Dollar General allegedly cancelled her coverage on July 30, 2016. Fielding claims that she incurred over $23, 000 in uninsured medical costs as a result of the cancelled coverage.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. The Motion to ...


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