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Singh v. Dish Network LLC

United States District Court, D. Utah

November 12, 2019

NAGENDRA SINGH, Plaintiff,
v.
DISH NETWORK, LLC, ECHOSPHERE, LLC, AND SLING T.V. LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          Dale A. Kimball United States District Judge

         This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Nagendra Singh's Motion to Set Aside Judgment Under Rule 60(b)(3) and (b)(6). The parties have fully briefed the motion, and the court concludes that oral argument would not significantly aid in its determination of the motion. Therefore, based on the memoranda submitted by the parties and the law and facts relevant to the motion, the Court issues the following Memorandum Decision and Order.

         BACKGROUND

         In October 2018, Nagendra Singh (“Singh”) filed suit against DISH Network, LLC, Echosphere, LLC, and Sling T.V. LLC (collectively, “DISH”), asserting various claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 based on his prior employment with DISH. In response to Singh's Complaint, DISH filed a Motion to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration, claiming that, as a part of Singh's employment, he had signed an arbitration agreement which required that any and all claims related to his employment with DISH be resolved by arbitration. On July 11, 2019, the court granted DISH's motion. The court determined that DISH had produced sufficient evidence of a valid arbitration agreement between DISH and Singh. Accordingly, the court dismissed Singh's complaint with prejudice.

         DISCUSSION

         Singh now requests that the court set aside the judgment dismissing his complaint pursuant to rules 60(b)(3) and 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that a “court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment . . . for . . . (3) fraud . . ., misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; . . . or (6) any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3), (6). Importantly, “Rule 60(b) relief ‘is extraordinary and may only be granted in exceptional circumstances.'” Zurich N. Am. v. Matrix Serv., Inc., 426 F.3d 1281, 1289 (10th Cir. 2005) (quoting Servants of Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1009 (10th Cir. 2000)). As such, “[p]arties seeking relief under Rule 60(b) have a high[] hurdle to overcome.” Id. (quoting Cummings v. General Motors Corp., 365 F.3d 944, 955 (10th Cir. 2004)).

         In order to obtain relief under Rule 60(b)(3), the moving party must “clearly substantiate” their claim by providing “‘clear and convincing proof' of fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct.” Id. 1290 (quoting Cummings, 365 F.3d at 955). To make such a showing, the moving party must demonstrate that the non-moving party “acted with ‘an intent to deceive or defraud the court,' by means of a ‘deliberately planned and carefully executed scheme.'” Yapp v. Excel Corp., 186 F.3d 1222, 1231 (10th Cir. 1999) (quoting Robinson v. Audi Aktiengesellschaft, 56 F.3d 1259, 1267 (10th Cir. 1995)). Significantly, “[s]ubsection (b)(3) ‘is aimed at judgments which were unfairly obtained, not at those which are factually incorrect.'” Zurich, 426 F.3d at 1290 (quoting Rozier v. Ford Motor Co., 573 F.2d 1332, 1339 (5th Cir. 1978)).

         Despite the relatively high bar required for a moving party to obtain relief under Rule 60(b)(3), “relief is even more difficult to attain” under Rule 60(b)(6). Yapp, 186 F.3d at 1232. Relief under Rule 60(b)(6) is “appropriate only ‘when it offends justice to deny such relief.'” Id. (quoting Cashner v. Freedom Stores, Inc., 98 F.3d 572, 580 (10th Cir. 1996)); see also Kile v. United States, 915 F.3d 682, 687 (10th Cir. 2019), as corrected (Feb. 15, 2019) (“[A] district court may grant a Rule 60(b)(6) motion ‘only in extraordinary circumstances and only when necessary to accomplish justice.'” (quoting Cashner, 98 F.3d at 579)).

         In this case, Singh contends that although DISH moved to dismiss his complaint and compel arbitration, it has failed to actually initiate arbitration. Accordingly, Singh avers that DISH misrepresented its intentions to have this case heard by an arbitrator, and he now asks that the court issue an order requiring DISH to initiate arbitration.

         Conversely, DISH contends that it has no obligation to initiate arbitration, but that Singh, as the aggrieved party, is required to initiate arbitration proceedings. Under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), after a court determines that a party has refused to arbitrate in accordance with a written arbitration agreement, “the court shall make an order summarily directing the parties to proceed with the arbitration in accordance with the terms thereof.” 9 U.S.C. § 4. DISH claims that this is precisely what the court did when it issued its Memorandum Decision and Order granting DISH's Motion to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration-i.e., ordered Singh to submit his claims to arbitration. See Mem. Decision and Order, ECF No. 26. Moreover, in support of denying Singh's motion, DISH cites the relevant portion of the arbitration agreement, which provides:

A Party who wishes to arbitrate a Claim must prepare a written demand for arbitration (“Request for Arbitration”) that identifies the claims asserted, the factual basis for each claim, and the relief and/or remedy sought. That Party must file the Request for Arbitration - along with a copy of this Agreement and the applicable filing fee - with the AAA by (i) delivering them by hand to any office of the AAA; (ii) mailing them by certified U.S. mail, Federal Express or United Parcel Service to American Arbitration Association, Case Filing Services, 1101 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 100, Voorhees, N.J. 08043; or (iii) using the AAA WebFile feature at the AAA's website: www.adr.org. The Request for Arbitration must be submitted to the AAA before the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations and the parties agree that the date the Request for Arbitration is received by AAA shall constitute submission for all statute of limitation purposes . . . .

         Arbitration Agreement at ¶ 2. The arbitration agreement further specifies that arbitration will be conducted “pursuant to the AAA's Employment Arbitration Rules and Procedures, ” id. at ¶ 4, and those rules provide that the “initiating party” or the “Claimant” is to “[f]ile a written notice . . . of its intention to arbitrate, ” see AAA Employment Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures 4(b)(i)(1). Under these provisions, DISH contends that Singh is the party that must initiate arbitration, not DISH.

         In light of the above arguments, the court is unpersuaded to set aside the judgment dismissing Singh's case. First, when DISH moved to dismiss Singh's Complaint and compel arbitration, it specifically asked the court to “order Singh to arbitrate his claims” and “given that all of Singh's clams are subject to arbitration . . . dismiss Singh's Complaint.” Mot. to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration at 7-8, ECF No. 8. Accordingly, when the court granted DISH's motion, not only did it dismiss Singh's Complaint, but it also served as an order directing Singh to submit his claims to arbitration. Singh's present motion makes clear that he misinterpreted the relief sought ...


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