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United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
July 23, 2022, Decided; July 25, 2022, Filed
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
COGAN, District Judge.
In this wage recovery action under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and New York Labor Law ("NYLL"), defendants have moved to compel arbitration, and stay the action. For the following reasons, defendants' motion is granted, subject to the severance of several unacceptable provisions in the arbitration agreement, and the action is stayed pending arbitration.
I. Factual Background
A. Plaintiff Signs Agreement
Plaintiff worked as a construction worker, employed by at least one of the defendants, which are iron work companies and their principal, from 2011 to 2021.
In June 2021, after defendants had been sued in at least two other cases for labor law violations, defendant Kapnisis, the owner of the companies, addressed plaintiff and other workers when they went to defendants' payroll office to receive their weekly pay.1 As plaintiffs [*2] native language is Spanish, he had another worker translate for him. Kapnisis gave them the subject document, titled "Arbitration Agreement," and told them, according to plaintiffs English-speaking co-worker, that they could not continue to work without signing it. This, Kapnisis said, was because "a lot of employees were getting hurt on the job site."
Plaintiff avers that "[n]o one from the company explained what [he] was signing" or "told [him] to consult with a lawyer before signing." However, the agreement provided, in all capitalized letters: "PLEASE READ [the agreement] CAREFULLY, PRIOR TO SIGNING. UNDERSIGNED MAY SEEK INDEPENDENT LEGAL COUNSEL PRIOR TO SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT." Ultimately, plaintiff signed what he was given, without consulting an attorney or making inquiries into the contents of the agreement.
Three months later, in September, he was fired.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131579 *; 2022 WL 2916033
RAUL CRESPO, Plaintiff, - against - PHILIPPOS KAPNISIS, et al., Defendants.
arbitration, unconscionable, arbitration agreement, Courts, unenforceable, provisions, signing, compel arbitration, attorney's fees, sever, invalidate, terms