The federal District Court for Massachusetts has again rebuffed an attempt by New Prime, Inc. to compel its truck drivers to private arbitration.
Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that New Prime could not use the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to compel a truck driver to pursue his claims against the company in arbitration. After losing that appeal and having the case returned to the District Court, New Prime tried to take a second bite at the apple. It filed a second motion to compel the plaintiff and several other truck drivers who had joined the lawsuit to arbitration to arbitration – this time under state law.
Chief Judge Patti Saris denied that motion, ruling that New Prime had waived its right to pursue arbitration under state law. Chief Judge Saris found that New Prime had always known it could have tried to compel arbitration under Missouri law, but chose not to do so for over three years and only after having lost its appeal with the Supreme Court. As Judge Saris explained:
New Prime had notice from the start of this case that it was being pursued as a putative class and collective action, and that it had the potential right to compel arbitration under both federal and state law. […] Nevertheless, New Prime “substantially invoke[d] the litigation machinery” by pursuing the federal path for two years before moving to compel arbitration under the MUAA.
In the wake of that decision, the truck drivers are free to pursue their claims against New Prime in the federal court.