United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER STAYING CASE DURING THE PENDENCY OF ARBITRATION
BETWEEN DEFENDANT-INTERVENOR ALL WEB LEADS AND PLAINTIFF
JENNIFER TURNER AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STAY
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
September 6, 2018, this Court ordered the Parties to show
cause as to why this case should not be stayed until the
resolution of pending arbitration between Plaintiff Jessica
Turner and Defendant-Intervenor All Web Leads, Inc. (the
“Turner-AWL Arbitration”). (Doc. #
All parties timely responded to the Order. (Doc. ## 59, 60,
62.) Defendant Efinancial, LLC and All Web Leads, Inc.
(“AWL”) agree that this case should be stayed
pending the Turner-AWL Arbitration because, they assert, the
resolution of that Arbitration will be dispositive of the
instant matter. (Doc. # 59, 60.) Ms. Turner, however,
responds that this case should not be stayed because there
exists no contract between the Parties, much less an
agreement to arbitrate. (Doc. # 62.) Ms. Turner accordingly
filed a Motion requesting that this Court stay the Turner-AWL
Arbitration and instead allow her present claims to proceed
in this venue. (Doc. # 61.) For the following reasons, the
Court finds that a stay of this litigation pending the
outcome of the Turner-AWL Arbitration is warranted. The Court
accordingly denies Plaintiff's Motion to Stay that
issue in the underlying case is whether Efinancial violated
the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C.
§ 227, when it sent Ms. Turner five text messages
regarding life insurance between August and November 2017.
(Doc. # 1 at ¶ 1.) Ms. Turner contends that these text
messages were unsolicited and unwanted. (Id. at
¶ 22, 28.) Efinancial responds that it appropriately
obtained Ms. Turner's information and consequently sent
her text messages after she visited AWL's website and
thereby consented to receive communication from Efinancial.
pertinent here, AWL is a corporation that “sells
insurance leads to insurance providers.” (Doc. ## 48 at
1; 27 at 2.) “[A]s a part of its business, AWL operates
. . . a website for consumers that are looking for insurance
quotes.” (Doc. # 27 at 2.) When a consumer visits
AWL's website, the consumer provides contact information,
“which includes a telephone number, ” and then
clicks on a “Get My Quotes” button. (Doc. # 46 at
1.) By clicking on the “Get My Quotes” button,
the consumer authorizes “up to eight insurance
companies or their agents or partner companies, to contact
[the consumer] at the number . . . provided.” (Doc. #
46-1 at 2.) Efinancial is one of the agencies with whom AWL
has agreed to share consumer information, provided they
consent by clicking on the “Get My Quotes”
button. Also by clicking on the “Get My Quotes”
button, the consumer agrees to AWL's “Terms and
Conditions.” (Id.) Among other things, those
terms and conditions contain an Agreement to Arbitrate. (Doc.
# 46-3.) It provides that “all disputes or claims that
have arisen or may arise . . . relating in any way to or
arising out of” the consumers “use of [AWL's]
Services . . . shall be resolved exclusively through final
and binding arbitration.” (Id.)
Efinancial, AWL contends that Ms. Turner visited AWL's
website and clicked on the “Get My Quotes”
button, thereby (1) permitting Efinancial to contact her, and
(2) agreeing to AWL's Terms and Conditions, including the
Agreement to Arbitrate. Accordingly, on May 25, 2018, AWL,
who agreed to defend Efinancial against claims like those in
this case, filed a demand for arbitration against Plaintiff
with the American Arbitration Association (the
“Turner-AWL” Arbitration). (Doc. # 46-5.)
That arbitration, which addresses the same issues raised in
this case, is currently pending.
denies ever visiting AWL's website and requests that the
Turner-AWL Arbitration be stayed so that her claims against
Efinancial can proceed in this venue; AWL and Efinancial
conversely request for this litigation to be stayed
so that the issues can proceed through the Turner-AWL
Arbitration. The Court finds that the latter approach is more
appropriate at this time.
district court has “broad discretion to stay
proceedings as an incident to its power to control its own
docket.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708
(1997). A federal court may dismiss or stay federal
proceedings when a parallel or duplicative proceeding is
pending in another forum. Rienhardt v. Kelly, 164
F.3d 1296, 1302 (10th Cir. 1999). The doctrine likewise
applies to parallel or duplicative proceedings pending in
arbitration. THI of New Mexico at Las Cruces, LLC v.
Fox, 727 F.Supp.2d 1195, 1208 (D.N.M. 2010). Indeed, 9
U.S.C. § 3 provides that the Court “shall”
do so “upon being satisfied” that an agreement to
arbitrate exists that covers the issues involved in
litigation and to which the parties have agreed. Avedon
Eng'g, Inc. v. Seatex, 126 F.3d 1279, 1283 (10th
Cir. 1997) (citing First Options of Chicago, Inc. v.
Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 943-45 (1995)).
may also stay ongoing arbitration in favor of federal
litigation. Although no provision of the Federal Arbitration
Act or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure expressly allows
this Court to do so, some courts have relied on 9 U.S.C.
§ 4 as implicitly providing authority for a stay of
arbitration proceedings under “appropriate
circumstances.” See Westmoreland Capital Corp. v.
Findlay, 100 F.3d 263, 266 n. 3 (2d Cir. 1996)
(“While § 3 of the FAA gives federal courts the
power to stay trials pending arbitration, we note that a
number of courts have held that, in appropriate
circumstances, § 4 of the FAA may be applied to stay or
enjoin arbitration proceedings.”); see also Tai
Ping Ins. Co., Ltd. v. M/V Warschau, 731 F.2d 1141,
1144- 46 (5th Cir.1984) (suggesting that an
“appropriate circumstance” for a stay may be
found if the dispute is not covered by the arbitration
courts have stayed arbitration proceedings in reliance on the
court's inherent power. See Wells Enterprises, Inc.
v. Olympic Ice Cream, 903 F.Supp.2d 740, 751 (N.D. Iowa
2012); see also Landis v. North American Co., 299
U.S. 248, 254 (1936) (“[T]he power to stay proceedings
is incidental to the power inherent in every court to control
the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of
time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for
of the framework used to review a motion to stay an
arbitration proceeding or a motion to stay litigation pending
arbitration, the court has wide discretion in making this
decision. See Rogers v. Ameriprise Financial Servs.,
Inc., No. 07 C 6876, 2008 WL 4826262, at *2 (N.D.Ill.
Nov. 4, 2008) (noting that the decision to issue a stay rests
within the court's discretion which must be exercised in
a manner that is consistent with equity and judicial
economy). Moreover, the Federal Arbitration Act
“establishes that, as a matter of federal law, any
doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be
resolved in favor of arbitration.” Pikes Peak
Nephrology Assocs., P.C. v. Total Renal Care, Inc., No.
CIV.A09CV00928CMAMEH, 2010 WL 1348326, at *5 (D. Colo. Mar.
30, 2010) (citing Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v.
Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983)).
courts “routinely” uphold internet
agreements to arbitrate provided the consumer had
“reasonable notice, either actual or constructive, of
the terms of the putative agreement and . . . manifested
asset to those terms.” Vernon cv. Qwest
Commc'ns Int'l, Inc., 857 F.Supp.2d 1135, 1149
(D. Colo. 2012.)