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Marchant v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

November 5, 2018

Crystal Marchant, Plaintiff,
v.
Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration. (Dkt. No. 4.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Crystal Marchant alleges that she was hired by Defendant Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc. in April 2017. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at ¶ 3.) Of note, at the time Plaintiff was hired, she signed a Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate ("arbitration agreement").[1] In relevant part, the arbitration agreement covered:

Any disputes, claims, complaints or controversies ("Claim(s)") between me and MAXIM arising out of and/or directly or indirectly related to my application for employment with MAXIM, my employment with MAXIM, the terms and conditions of my employment with MAXIM, and/or the termination of my employment with MAXIM, will be resolved by arbitration and NOT by a court or jury as set forth herein.
* * *
Claims covered by this Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate
EMPLOYEE and MAXIM mutually agree to arbitrate before a neutral arbitrator exclusively on an individual basis (and not on a class, collective or representative basis) any and all Claims between EMPLOYEE and MAXIM, that arise out of or relate to EMPLOYEE'S recruitment, application, employment or separation from employment with MAXIM, including Claims involving any current or former officer, director, shareholder, agent or employee of MAXIM, whether the Claims arise under common law, or in tort, contract, or pursuant to a statute, regulation, or ordinance now in existence or which may in the future be enacted or recognized, including, but not limited to, the following Claims:
* * *
• Claims for wrongful termination of employment, violation of public policy and constructive discharge... and any other tort or tort-like causes of action relating to or arising from the employment relationship or the formation or termination thereof....

(Dkt. No. 4-2 at 7.) The arbitration agreement further stated that any arbitration would be conducted before an arbitrator selected pursuant to the employment arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") and that discovery would be permitted pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Dkt. No. 4-2 at 10, 12.) The parties also agreed that Plaintiff s employment with Defendant affects interstate commerce. (Id.)

         Sometime between April 2017 and August 2017, Plaintiff allegedly reported to a supervisor that narcotic medications were missing. (Id. at ¶ 5.) On August 30, 2017, a patient was allegedly locked out of a building while Plaintiff was cooking lunch. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Plaintiff was allegedly told to leave the building, and subsequently interviewed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division ("SLED") about the incident. (Id. at ¶¶7 - 8.) On October 15, 2017, the interview with SLED was submitted to Defendant's corporate offices for a decision, and Plaintiff was terminated on November 13, 2017. (Id. at ¶¶ 10 - 12.) Plaintiff alleges that the reasons given for her termination were pretextual and instead she was terminated for reporting the missing narcotic medication. Id.

         Plaintiff asserts a single cause of action alleging termination in violation of public policy. (Dkt. No. 1 -1.) Defendant removed this case on October 10, 2018, and now moves to dismiss and compel arbitration. (Dkt. No. 4.) Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Dkt. No. 5.)

         II. L ...


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