United States District Court, D. North Dakota
Vikki Nicole Lindsey, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Dustin Ray Payne, Melissa Hopkins, as surviving parent of Dustin Ray Payne, and Scottie Payne, as surviving parent of Dustin Ray Payne, Plaintiffs,
C&J Well Services, Inc., C&J Well Services, Inc. d/b/a C&J Energy Services, C&J Energy Services, Inc., Nabors Completion & Production Services Co., Superior Well Services, Inc., Nabors Drilling Technologies USA, Inc., Nabors Drilling USA, LP, Nabors Corporate Services, Inc., Nabors Industries, Inc., and John Doe, I, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL
ARBITRATION AND STAY LITIGATION
L. HOVLAND, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the Court is the Defendants' “Motion to Compel
Arbitration and Demand for Stay of Litigation” filed on
July 14, 2016. See Doc. No. 39. The Plaintiffs filed
a response in opposition to the motion on August 15, 2017.
See Doc. No. 54. The Defendants filed a reply brief
on September 20, 2017. See Doc. No. 55. For the
reasons set forth below, the Defendants' motion is
October 3, 2014, Dustin Ray Payne sustained fatal injuries
due to an explosion that occurred as he was commencing
welding work on a saltwater tanker trailer. Payne was an
employee of Nabors Completion & Production Services Co.
(“Nabors”) at the time of the incident. According
to the complaint, Defendant Superior Well Services, Inc.
onwed the property on which Payne sustained his injuries.
See Doc. No. 1. On February 9, 2016, the Plaintiffs
filed this action against the Defendants seeking damages
resulting from Payne's death. See Doc. No. 1.
The Plaintiffs' complaint alleges six causes of action:
(1) intentional injuries against Nabors Completion &
Production Services Co., (2) respondeat superior liability
against all defendants, (3) negligence against all
defendants, (4) strict liability against all Defendants, (5)
premises liability against all Defendants, and (6) a cause of
action entitled “Unlicensed Businesses” against
Nabors Completion & Production Services Co., Superior
Well Services, Inc., Nabors Corporate Services, Inc. and
Nabors Industries, Inc. Id. at pp. 5-9. The
Plaintiffs specifically request economic damages as well as
non-economic damages “representing Dustin Ray Payne,
and his family's, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and
emotional distress[.]” Id. at p. 10.
14, 2016, the Defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration
and stay litigation of this matter. See Doc. No. 39.
During Plaintiffs' response time, a notice of bankruptcy
was filed, indicating “Defendants C&J Energy
Services, Inc. and C&J Well Services, Inc. (f/k/a Nabors
Completion & Production Services, Inc.)” filed
voluntary petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for
the Southern District of Texas (“the Bankruptcy
Court”), seeking relief pursuant to Chapter 11 of Title
11 of the United States Code. See Doc. No. 46.
Consequently, on August 22, 2016, Magistrate Judge Charles S.
Miller, Jr. issued an order staying this action. See
Doc. No. 48. On December 8, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court issued
an order permitting this action “to proceed to trial
and judgment . . . .” See Doc. No. 49-1.
Judge Miller lifted the stay in this case on June 6, 2017.
See Doc. No. 50. The Plaintiffs subsequently filed a
response in opposition to the Defendant's motion to
compel arbitration and further stay the litigation on August
15, 2017. See Doc. No. 54. The Defendants filed a
reply brief on September 20, 2017. See Doc. No. 55.
their motion to compel arbitration and stay this action,
Defendants contend all of the Plaintiffs' claims against
all Defendants are subject to a Nabors' Employee
Dispute Resolution Program (“Dispute Resolution
Program”) and under such program, the parties must
submit the dispute to arbitration. The Plaintiffs contend
their claims are not governed by the arbitration provision
contained within the Dispute Resolution Program because
“Payne did not possess any cognizable legal rights in
the wrongful death claim to contract away such an
action.” See Doc. No. 54.
employment relationship with Nabors was governed by the Dispute
Resolution Program, which provided that in the event of a
dispute between Payne and Nabors, the matter would be
submitted to an arbitrator. See Doc. No. 41-2.
Payne, by accepting the “Nabors Application Release,
” acknowledged he would be required “to adhere to
the Dispute Resolution Program and its requirement for
submission of disputes to a process that may include
mediation and/or arbitration.” See Doc. No.
41-1, p. 3. The Dispute Resolution Program is “designed
to provide a means for a quick, fair, accessible, and
inexpensive resolution of Disputes between the Company and
the Company's present and former Employees and Applicants
for employment related to or arising out of a current, former
or potential employment relationship with the Company.”
See Doc. No. 41-2, p. 1. Moreover, the Dispute
Resolution Program “is intended to create an exclusive
procedural mechanism for the final resolution of all Disputes
falling within its terms.” Id. Specifically,
the Dispute Resolution Program requires all disputes
“be arbitrated on an individual basis.”
Id. at 3. The Dispute Resolution Program defines a
“dispute” to mean:
[A]ll legal and equitable claims, demands, and controversies,
of whatever nature or kind, whether in contract, tort, under
statute or regulation, or some other law, between persons
bound by the Program or by an agreement to resolve Disputes
under the Program, or between a person bound by the Program
and a person or entity otherwise entitled to its benefits,
including, but not limited to, any matters with respect to:
1. this Program;
2. the employment or potential reemployment of an Employee,
including the terms, conditions, or termination of such
employment with the Company;
3. employee benefits or incidents of employment with the
4. any other matter related to or concerning the relationship
between the Employee and the Company including, by way of
example and without limitation, allegations of:
discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin,
age, veteran status or disability, sexual of other kinds of
harassment; workers' compensation retaliation;
defamation; infliction of emotional distress, antitrust claim