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Federal Judge Denies Motion to Compel Arbitration Filed by New York Life in $14 Million Lawsuit By Former Agent

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire denied a motion to compel arbitration filed by New York Life (and two related companies) in a lawsuit filed by Ketler Bossé, a former soliciting agent and district agent for the company. The case will now proceed in court, and the parties will soon begin discovery. Factual Background Mr. Bossé engaged Fojo Law, P.L.L.C. and filed a Complaint in January 2019, asserting various federal and state employment-related claims against New York Life, including claims for discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, conspiracy to interfere with civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and breach of contract under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and various state law claims, including claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, wrongful termination, tortious interference with economic advantage, violation of New Hampshire’s Consumer Protection Act (RSA 358-A), breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, conversion, defamation per quod, and defamation per se. Mr. Bossé alleged that, despite excelling as an agent for New York Life and the many accolades he earned during his 14-year affiliation with the company, New York Life terminated him because he is black and then defamed him and appropriated his clients. He alleged he is owed over $14 million in lost commissions, residual commissions, override commissions, and other compensation and expenses. The Parties’ Arguments New York Life filed a motion to compel arbitration, arguing that, under an employment agreement Mr. Bossé signed in 2004 (which was then terminated in 2005), Mr. Bossé’s claims must be dismissed in favor of arbitration...

12 Reasons Businesses Should Use Arbitration Agreements

Last year, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed its view that arbitration agreements are valid contracts and must be “rigorously enforced.” This decision means businesses can better manage their legal risk by requiring their employees and customers to enter into arbitration agreements. In this article, I briefly outline the existing law on arbitration agreements, and then I identify and explain 12 reasons why businesses should use them. Download a FREE Guide That Reveals The 10 Things Every Business Needs To Know About Business Law The Law on Arbitration Agreements In April 2011, the United States Supreme Court upheld an arbitration agreement (that included a waiver of the right to pursue a class action) in AT&T’s consumer agreements. In a case called AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, the plaintiff filed a class action against AT&T. The case made its way up to the Supreme Court. The Court concluded the plaintiff had to proceed to individual arbitration pursuant to the requirement and waiver in the arbitration agreement. The Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) not only favors arbitration, but also disfavors class action proceedings. The Court relied on the FAA and stated that “requiring the availability of classwide arbitration interferes with the fundamental attributes of arbitration and thus creates a scheme inconsistent with the FAA.” Last year, in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the Supreme Court confirmed what it stated in the Concepcion case. The Court made it clear that, because “arbitration is a matter of contract,” its terms must be “rigorously enforced by courts.” The plaintiffs in that case disputed a rate American Express charged merchants...