Law School Case Brief
Lewis v. Epic Sys. Corp - 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17624 (W.D. Wis. Feb. 8, 2017)
The potential benefits of arbitration would be lost if a case could proceed in district court while a decision denying a request to arbitrate was pending on appeal.
Plaintiff Jacob Lewis brought a proposed class and collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law to obtain unpaid wages for technical writers employed by defendant Epic Systems Corporation ("Epic"). Epic filed a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that Lewis' claims were subject to an arbitration agreement. The court denied the motion on the ground that the arbitration agreement was invalid. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the decision, and the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case, along with two other cases raising a similar issue. Consequently, Epic filed a motion to stay the case pending a decision from the Supreme Court.
Should the court grant the motion to stay?
The court granted Epic's motion to stay. The court observed that the potential benefits of arbitration would be lost if a case could proceed in district court while a decision denying a request to arbitrate was pending on appeal. The worst possible outcome would be to litigate the dispute, to have the court of appeals reverse and order the dispute arbitrated, to arbitrate the dispute, and finally to return to court to have the award enforced. Moreover, Lewis failed to identify any prejudice he would suffer as a result of a stay of a few months, and thus the balance of harms seemed to favor Epic.
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