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McGee v. Armstrong

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

October 29, 2019, Decided; October 29, 2019, Filed

File Name: 19a0270p.06

No. 18-3886

Opinion

 [*862]  [***2]   MERRITT, Circuit Judge. This appeal arises from Plaintiff Kevin McGee's termination from the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities, an institution of local government in Ohio. In this appeal, Plaintiff argues that the District Court erred in granting Defendants' motion to compel arbitration; denying Plaintiff's motion to vacate the arbitration award; and granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment regarding Plaintiff's breach of contract claims. For the reasons below, we AFFIRM.

Plaintiff is a terminated former management employee of Defendant Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities (the Board) as Director of Marketing, Public Relations, and Specialty Businesses. Plaintiff is also a Second Lieutenant in the Ohio Army National Guard, [**2]  in which he has been an active member since 2008.

Defendant Thomas Armstrong is the Board's Superintendent. He hired Plaintiff and was his immediate supervisor. Defendant Lisa Kamlowsky is the Board's Assistant Superintendent and Chief Legal Counsel. Armstrong and Kamlowsky are both management-level employees.

Plaintiff worked under renewable one-year employment agreements from his hiring in 2002 until his termination in 2012. The employment agreement contains a broad arbitration provision in the "Contract Termination-Employee Discipline" section, which states:

During the term of the Contract, the Employee may be removed, suspended or demoted for cause pursuant to ORC 5126.23 . . .

 [*863]  In consideration for the compensation and other benefits set forth herein, and after specifically considering his WAIVER OF RIGHTS, the Employee agrees that the parties shall not use the statutory procedures set forth in ORC 5126.23 for the resolution of any matter regarding the removal, suspension or demotion of the Employee. Any dispute, claim or cause of action arising out of such removal, suspension or demotion shall be submitted to binding arbitration under the then existing rules of the American Arbitration Association.

 [***3]  *** [**3] 

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941 F.3d 859 *; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32358 **; 2019 FED App. 0270P (6th Cir.) ***; 2019 WL 5556756

KEVIN V. MCGEE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. THOMAS ARMSTRONG; LISA KAMLOWSKY; SUMMIT COUNTY BOARD OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; JOHN DOES 1-3, Defendants-Appellees.

Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by McGee v. Armstrong, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35845 (6th Cir., Dec. 2, 2019)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Akron. No. 5:11-cv-02751—Sara E. Lioi, District Judge.

McGee v. Armstrong, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138861 (N.D. Ohio, Aug. 16, 2018)McGee v. Armstrong, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129734 (N.D. Ohio, Aug. 15, 2017)McGee v. Armstrong, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91357 (N.D. Ohio, July 3, 2014)

CORE TERMS

arbitration, military leave, district court, parties, breach of contract claim, summary judgment motion, cause of action, differential, vacate, compel arbitration, termination, grant summary judgment, employment contract, arbitration award, quotation, argues, marks

Business & Corporate Compliance, Arbitration, Federal Arbitration Act, Orders to Compel Arbitration, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Arbitration Agreements, Stay Pending Arbitration, Scope, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitrability, Pretrial Matters, Judicial Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Materiality of Facts, Judgments, Burdens of Proof, Evidentiary Considerations, Breach, Breach of Contract Actions, Elements of Contract Claims