Partner Peter D. Valenzano and Associate Lauren M. Hill successfully argued before the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division on behalf of Plaintiff Tevin Welcome, overturning the lower court’s decision compelling arbitration of his discrimination and whistleblower retaliation claims.
After ten months and sixteen days of discovery including the filing of a dispositive motion, a motion for a protective order, the exchange of paper discovery, and the deposition of Plaintiff, Defendant Huffmaster Staffing, Inc., (“Defendant Huffmaster”) moved to compel arbitration of Plaintiff’s claims pursuant to an arbitration agreement buried within Plaintiff’s employment application. The Trial Court granted the Motion, rejecting Plaintiff’s argument that the company had waived the right to compel arbitration.
Welcome appealed. The Appellate Division reversed the trial court. “If arbitration is designed to be a faster and more efficient process, the delay in this case of nearly a year before the company took action to compel it represents a poor counter-example”, the panel said. “We ought not encourage and endorse such lateness where it could have been easily avoided by the company or its advocates more carefully checking its own files and forms.”
Accordingly, the Appellate Court determined Defendant Huffmaster had waived its right to enforce the arbitration agreement between the parties. Welcome’s case will be remanded to the Law Division, where it will be scheduled for trial.
“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision. The prompt delivery of the well-reasoned opinion will now allow our client to litigate his claims in the law division, where they have always belonged.” Peter D. Valenzano, Esq., McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.