United States District Court, D. Maryland
SHANEQUA D. DENNIE, Plaintiff,
MEDIMMUNE, INC., et al., Defendants.
Xinis United States District Judge.
employment discrimination action, the parties move to stay
the proceedings pending arbitration. ECF No. 9. Defendant
Anthony Williams also moves to compel arbitration as to Count
Nine of the complaint, which brings suit against him
exclusively for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
ECF No. 11. The issues are fully briefed and the Court now
rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is
necessary. For the reasons stated below, the joint motion to
stay is granted in part and denied in part. Defendant
Williams' motion to compel arbitration is granted.
November 28, 2011, Defendant MedImmune, LLC
(“MedImmune”) hired Plaintiff Shanequa Dennie
(“Dennie”) as a Production Tech 3 and placed her
in the company's manufacturing center in Frederick,
Maryland. Dennie signed an “Employee Agreement”
in connection with working for Defendants. The Agreement
contains an arbitration clause which states, in pertinent
I understand and agree to have resolved by arbitration any
and all disputes arising from or relating to my employment
with Company, my application for such employment, my
termination of such employment or post-employment issues with
Company. These include:
(A) claims relating to any discrimination on the basis of
age, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability,
retaliation, marital status, veteran status, sexual
orientation or any other claim of employment discrimination
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (29 U.S.C.
§ 12101 et seq.), Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.);
Article 49B of the Maryland Annotated Code; or any other
federal, state or local prohibition against discrimination in
the above protected or similar categories;
(C) claims for breach of an express or implied contract or
Employee Agreement, ECF No. 11-1 at 2-3.
Howe served as Dennie's immediate supervisor who in turn
reported to the center's Associate Director, Defendant
Anthony Williams. See Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 5.
Williams and Dennie began a romantic relationship a couple
years into Dennie's employment. Over the course of their
relationship, Dennie alleges that Williams sent her sexually
suggestive text messages and often asked Dennie to leave her
night shift early to join him at his apartment. Dennie later
learned that Williams was in romantic relationships with
other MedImmune employees. So, on April 27, 2015, Dennie
informed Williams that she was ending the relationship and
requested a transfer to another department at a different
location. Dennie alleges that Williams retaliated by
launching an investigation into her timesheets, knowing that
Dennie often left work before the end of her shift to be with
him. The investigation ultimately led to Dennie's
resignation on May 15, 2015.
November 4, 2016, Dennie filed her nine-count Complaint in
this Court. ECF No. 1. Counts One through Eight allege
MedImmune violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq. and the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act, Md.
Code Ann., State Gov't § 20-606, et seq.
Specifically, in Counts One and Two, Dennie alleges that
MedImmune, through its agent, Williams, subjected Dennie to
disparate treatment and quid pro quo sexual
harassment in violation of Title VII. In Count Three, she
alleges Williams' sexual advances, sexual behavior with
other MedImmune employees, and threatening remarks created a
hostile work environment and that MedImmune failed to take
corrective action in violation of Title VII. Count Four
against MedImmune claims retaliation for Williams' role
in the investigation into Dennie's timesheets. In Counts
Five through Eight, Dennie alleges violations of the Maryland
Fair Employment Practices Act. Count Nine is a claim of
intentional infliction of emotional distress against Williams
for his inappropriate behavior and for his initiation of the
timesheet investigation which led to Dennie's
December 15, 2016, Dennie and Defendants MedImmune, Inc.
MedImmune LLC, MedImmune Biologics Inc., AstraZenaca LP, and
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, submitted a joint motion to
stay the court proceedings pending arbitration of Counts One
through Eight pursuant to the arbitration clause in
Dennie's Employee Agreement. ECF No. 9. However, the
parties did not agree to arbitrate Count Nine, the only claim
against Williams. Thus, on December 22, Williams filed a
motion to compel arbitration of Count Nine pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 11.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to dismiss in connection with a valid arbitration agreement
are typically brought under Rule 12(b)(6) because
“‘the existence of a valid arbitration clause
does not technically deprive the Court of subject matter
jurisdiction.'” Cheraghi v. MedImmune,
LLC, No. 8:11-CV-01505 AW, 2011 WL 6047059, at *2 (D.
Md. Dec. 5, 2011) (quoting Liveware Publ'g, Inc. v.
Best Software, Inc., 252 F.Supp.2d 74, 78 (D. Del.
2003)); see also Schwartz v. Coleman, 833 F.2d 310,
at *2 (4th Cir. 1987) (Table). “It instead requires the
Court to forego the exercise of jurisdiction in deference to
the parties' contractual agreement to address in another
forum those disputes which fall within the scope of the
agreement to arbitrate.” Liveware, 252 F.Supp.
2d. at 78-79. Therefore, the Court will construe
Williams' motion one seeking dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6) rather than 12(b)(1).
the propriety of arbitration turns on construing the scope of
the arbitration clause in Dennie's Employment Agreement
which is not part of Dennie's complaint. Rule 12(d),
therefore, compels the Court to treat Williams' Motion to
Dismiss as one for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d);
see also Nationwide Ins. Co. of Columbus, Ohio v.
Patterson, 953 F.2d 44, 47 n.1 (3d Cir. 1991) (holding
that Rule 56 governs the dismissal of actions that an
arbitration agreement covers when the court considers matters
beyond the pleadings). In so doing, the court must give the
nonmoving party a reasonable opportunity to present all
material pertinent to the motion. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(d). As ...