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Hall-Cloutier v. Sig Sauer, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

January 11, 2018

Patricia Hall-Cloutier
v.
Sig Sauer, Inc.

          ORDER

          Landya McCafferty United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Patricia Hall-Cloutier (“Hall”) brings suit against her former employer, Sig Sauer, Inc. (“Sig Sauer”), alleging that Sig Sauer wrongfully terminated her for requesting leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and in response to her reporting violations of federal law by other Sig Sauer employees. Sig Sauer moves to compel Hall to arbitrate the claims she has asserted in this action and requests that the court stay the case pending arbitration. Hall objects.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Both Hall and Sig Sauer rely on materials beyond those attached to or referenced in Hall's complaint. In those circumstances, courts in the First Circuit employ the summary judgment standard in resolving a motion to compel arbitration. See, e.g., Landry v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., No. 16-cv-507-SM, 2017 WL 3431959, at *1 (D.N.H. Aug. 9, 2017) (citing cases). Therefore, Sig Sauer must show “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [that it] is entitled to” the relief it seeks. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In reviewing the record, the court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. Kelley v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., 707 F.3d 108, 115 (1st Cir. 2013).

         BACKGROUND

         On September 15, 2015, Sig Sauer hired Hall as its Director of Import/Export Compliance. Over the next year-and-a-half, Hall performed her job well, and received at least one performance-based raise.

         During her employment, Hall identified and reported instances in which documentation regarding the export of Sig Sauer weapons violated applicable United States laws regarding export license applications, agreements, and regulations. The last one of these instances occurred in June 2017.

         On June 1, 2017, Hall discovered that someone within Sig Sauer's Sales Department had changed the identified recipient of a shipment of controlled weapons, as identified by the National Firearms Act. After she investigated the matter, she learned that the Sales Department intentionally gave the freight forwarder incorrect paperwork to conceal the actual recipient in violation of state and federal law.

         Shortly after discovering the Sales Department's conduct, Hall reported the violation to her supervisor, Mr. Shawver. Shawver asked Hall several questions about the violation and suggested that Sig Sauer would need to investigate the matter further.

         Shawver was out of the office on vacation for the few days following his discussion with Hall. While Shawver was on vacation, Hall asked the freight forwarder for more information and stated that there would be an investigation regarding the shipment in question.

         On the morning of June 6, 2017, Shawver called Hall and told her that he would be in the office later that afternoon. During that phone call, the two discussed various issues regarding Sig Sauer's business, but Shawver did not mention the recent violation Hall had reported. Hall also reminded Shawver that she would be out of the office that afternoon to attend her mother's oncology appointment. Hall, who had taken personal and vacation leave caring for her mother, had notified Sig Sauer in April 2017 that she would need to take FMLA leave throughout 2017 to care for her mother.

         Later on June 6, Hall received a call from a representative in the Human Resources department asking her to come to the representative's office. When she arrived, she saw Shawver standing next to the representative's desk. Shawver informed Hall that there had been a “reorganization, ” that her position had become “redundant, ” and that Sig Sauer was “letting her go.” A security manager escorted Hall from the building shortly thereafter.

         DISCUSSION

         Following her termination, Hall brought this suit in New Hampshire Superior Court, Rockingham County, alleging a Whistleblower Claim under RSA 275-E, and claims for wrongful termination and FMLA retaliation. Sig Sauer removed the case to this court and now moves to compel Hall to arbitrate the claims she asserts ...


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