July 30, 2015 Articles

In Determining Arbitrability, Conjugation and Context Count

By Sara Sheinkin Kula

In Russell v. Citigroup, Inc., 748 F.3d 677 (6th Cir. 2014), the Sixth Circuit held that an employee who signed an arbitration agreement was not required to arbitrate a claim that arose before the agreement was executed. In reaching this determination, the court relied on the specific language in the agreement and the context in which the agreement was signed.

The Facts
Keith Russell worked for Citicorp Credit Services from 2004 to 2009. In January 2012, Russell filed a class action lawsuit against Citicorp for unpaid wages. While his case was still pending, Russell reapplied, and was hired, to work at Citicorp. At the time of his rehire, in January 2013, Russell signed what Citicorp was then using as its standard arbitration agreement.

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