United States District Court, D. Kansas
For WIHO, LLC, Plaintiff: Alexander B. Mitchell , II, LEAD ATTORNEY, Alexander Mittchell Law Office, Wichita, KS.
For Matt Hubbauer, Defendant: Brian L. White, Gregory S. Young, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Hinkle Law Firm LLC - Epic Center, Wichita, KS.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ERIC F. MELGREN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
This case arises out of a dispute between Plaintiff WIHO, LLC, a professional ice hockey club, and its former employee, Defendant Matt Hubbauer. Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration and Motion to Dismiss the Complaint (Doc. 6). For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Defendant's motion.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
A. The Collective Bargaining Agreement and Standard Player Agreement
Plaintiff, a Kansas limited liability company, is the former owner of the professional ice hockey club known as the " Wichita Thunder." The Wichita Thunder is a member of the Central Hockey League (" CHL" ). The rights, benefits, and obligations of Plaintiff and the ice hockey players it employed are governed by a Collective Bargaining Agreement entered into between (a) the Professional Hockey Players Association (" PHPA" ), which is the exclusive bargaining agent for the players in the CHL, and (b) the CHL, which is the bargaining agent for clubs in the CHL. The CHL Standard Player Agreement (" SPA" ), the agreement between a club and player, is set forth in an addendum to the CBA and is incorporated by reference into the CBA.
Defendant, a Canadian citizen, is a professional ice hockey player and member of the PHPA. Plaintiff and Defendant are parties to an SPA that was effective October 13, 2010. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant made misrepresentations to Plaintiff regarding his prior medical history when he applied to be one of Plaintiff's hockey players, that Plaintiff relied on Defendant's misrepresentations when entering
into the SPA, that Defendant's misrepresentations were false and fraudulent, and that Defendant's conduct was to Plaintiff's detriment. Plaintiff filed suit in the District Court of Sedgwick County, Kansas, seeking damages against Defendant in excess of $75,000 and for costs and other relief the court deemed just and equitable. Defendant removed the case to this Court on the grounds that Plaintiff's claim is governed by federal labor law and diversity of citizenship. Defendant now asks the Court to compel arbitration pursuant to the arbitration provisions in the CBA and SPA and to dismiss the Complaint.
Federal law favors arbitration. In the famous Steelworkers Trilogy, the United States Supreme Court set forth several principles governing the application of arbitration provisions in collective bargaining agreements. These principles were later synthesized and reiterated by the Supreme Court in AT& T Tech., Inc. v. Communications Workers of America . The first principle is that " arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has not agreed so to submit."  The second principle is that the question of arbitrability is an issue for judicial determination. The third principle is that, in deciding whether the parties have agreed to submit a particular dispute to arbitration, a court is not to rule ...