United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant AT&T Mobility Services, LLC's
(“AT&T”) motion to compel arbitration, ECF
No. 7; and its motion for leave to file a reply to
Plaintiff's response thereto, ECF No. 12. For the
following reasons, the motion to compel arbitration is
GRANTED, and the motion for leave to file is DENIED.
January 13, 2017, Plaintiff Layne Winters filed a complaint
in Illinois circuit court alleging that she had been
wrongfully disciplined and terminated from her job as an
assistant store manager at an AT&T store in Moline,
Illinois. Compl. 2-3, Not. Removal Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1. She
alleged (I) discrimination on the basis of sex in violation
of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§
2000e-2000e-17, Compl. 3-4; (II) discrimination on the basis
of gender under the Illinois Human Rights Act
(“IHRA”), 775 ILCS 5/2-101-5/2-106, Compl. 4-5;
(III) discrimination on the basis of a disability in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12117,
Compl. 5-6; (IV) discrimination on the basis of a disability
in violation of the IHRA, Compl. 6; (V), (VI) retaliation
under Title VII and the IHRA respectively, Compl. 6-7; and
(VII) interference with exercise of rights guaranteed by the
Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 2601-2654, Compl. 8-9. AT&T timely removed
the action to this Court on February 14, 2017, under the
Court's federal-question and removal jurisdiction, 28
U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1446. On March 23, 2017, AT&T
filed the motion to compel arbitration.
Legal Standard on a Motion to Compel Arbitration
Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C.
§§ 1-307, governs federal courts' treatment of
litigants' arbitration agreements, and reads, as relevant
If any suit or proceeding be brought in any of the courts of
the United States upon any issue referable to arbitration
under an agreement in writing for such arbitration, the court
in which such suit is pending, upon being satisfied that the
issue involved in such suit or proceeding is referable to
arbitration under such an agreement, shall on application of
one of the parties stay the trial of the action until such
arbitration has been had in accordance with the terms of the
agreement, providing the applicant for the stay is not in
default in proceeding with such arbitration.
9 U.S.C. § 3. “The FAA is Congress's
manifestation of a national policy favoring arbitration and
results in the placement of arbitration agreements on equal
footing with all other contracts.” Zurich Am. Ins.
Co. v. Watts Indus., Inc., 466 F.3d 577, 580 (7th Cir.
2006); see AT&T Mobility LLC v.
Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333, 339 (2011). “Whether or
not [a] company [is] bound to arbitrate, as well as what
issues it must arbitrate, is a matter to be determined by the
court on the basis of the contract entered into by the
parties.” AT & T Tech., Inc. v. Commc'ns
Workers of Am., 475 U.S. 643, 649 (1986).
“Under the [FAA], arbitration may be compelled if the
following three elements are shown: a written agreement to
arbitrate, a dispute within the scope of the arbitration
agreement, and a refusal to arbitrate.” Zurich Am.
Ins. Co. v. Watts Indus., 417 F.3d 682, 687 (7th Cir.
does not mandate an evidentiary burden that a party seeking
to compel or avoid arbitration must meet, but “courts
have analogized the standard to that required of a party
opposing summary judgment under Rule 56 . . . . [in that]
‘the opposing party must demonstrate that a genuine
issue of material fact warranting a trial exists.'”
Taylor v. Tree, No. 3:16-CV-2-TLS, 2016 WL 6523442,
at *1 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 3, 2016) (quoting Tinder v.
Pinkerton Sec., 305 F.3d 728, 735 (7th Cir. 2002)).
“Just as in summary judgment proceedings, a party
cannot avoid compelled arbitration by generally denying the
facts upon which the right to arbitration rests; the party
must identify specific evidence in the record demonstrating a
material factual dispute for trial.” Tinder,
305 F.3d at 735.
a long line of similar cases in which district courts have
granted its motions to compel arbitration, Mem. Supp. Mot.
Arb. 1-2, ECF No. 8, AT&T argues that this case is no
different: Winters received a link to a boilerplate contract
of adhesion from AT&T in her work email account, and,
after viewing the agreement, did not “opt out” of
the agreement in the time the document granted its adherents
to do so, id. at 3-4. The contract was enforceable;
it should be enforced; it demands that Winters's claims
be arbitrated, and her case here stayed. Id. at 6-
11. For her part, Winters claims that she never received the
contract by email, Resp. 4, ECF No. 11, and contests the
sufficiency of AT&T's proffered evidence to the
contrary, id. at 4.
elsewhere, so here-AT&T must prevail, and the case must
be stayed pending arbitration. The reasons lie in a
straightforward application of the law of contracts.
contract in question does not state what law governs.
Illinois choice of law rules, which this court applies since
it sits in the Central District of Illinois, dictate that
under such circumstances, Illinois contract law applies.
See Midwest Grain Prods. of Ill., Inc. v. Productization,
Inc. & Cmi Corp., 228 F.3d 784, 787 (7th Cir. 2000)
(federal district court applies the choice of law rule for
the state in which it sits); McIntosh v. Magna Sys.,
Inc., 539 F.Supp. 1185, 1188 (N.D. Ill. 1982) (general
rule in Illinois is that the law of the place of a
contract's execution governs the ...