Paramount Bank v. Hominsky, 4:21-cv-01284-SRC

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
Decision Date23 December 2021
PartiesPARAMOUNT BANK, Plaintiffs, v. JUSTIN HOMINSKY, Defendants.
Docket Number4:21-cv-01284-SRC



No. 4:21-cv-01284-SRC

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

December 23, 2021



Paramount Bank hired Justin Hominsky as a loan officer. As part of his employment contract, Hominsky agreed that if he left Paramount, he would not solicit his former co-workers to leave nor solicit them to join another company. Hominsky resigned from Paramount this past fall and took a similar position with another lending company. Paramount claims that Hominsky breached their contract by soliciting Paramount employees to join him at the other lender; so, Paramount filed this lawsuit and sought a temporary restraining order. Though before the Court heard the TRO, the parties stipulated to the entry of two court orders requiring Hominsky to, among other things, comply with the no-solicitation term of the contract. Hominsky then moved to compel arbitration.

I. Background

Hominsky signed an employment contract with Paramount and began work in May 2019. Doc. 1-1; Doc. 28 at p. 2. This contract set out the terms of the parties' employer-employee relationship, including that:

[Hominsky] agrees that during his[ ] employment with [Paramount] and for a period of twelve (12) months after the cessation his[ ] employment with [Paramount], [Hominsky] will not on behalf of himself[ ] or on behalf of any other individual, organization, or entity, directly or indirectly solicit any of the Bank's employees
with whom [Hominsky] worked in the six (6) months preceding [Hominsky]'s cessation of employment, to leave [Paramount] or form or join another organization or entity

Doc. 1-1 at p. 5.

After Hominsky resigned, Paramount alleges that he breached this portion of the employment contract by soliciting Paramount employees to join him at another company. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 5, 27. Paramount sued Hominsky and immediately sought temporary injunctive relief. Docs. 4, 5, 8. After entry of the second agreed order mentioned above, Hominsky moved to compel arbitration, Doc. 24, invoking the arbitration clause contained in the employment agreement:

... In the event of any dispute between the Parties concerning or arising out of their employment relationship or this Agreement, the Parties agree that such dispute shall be resolved through binding arbitration in accordance with the rules of AAA Arbitration.. . Notwithstanding any AAA rule to the contrary, the parties will share equally in the cost of such Arbitration, and shall be responsible for their own attorneys' fees, provided that if the Arbitration is brought pursuant to any statutory claim for which attorneys' fees were expressly recoverable, the Arbitrator shall award such attorneys' fees and costs consistent with the statute at issue
The arbitrator, and not any federal, state or local court or agency, shall have the exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability enforceability or formation of this Section IX including, but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this Section IX is void or voidable.
Nothing herein shall preclude a party from seeking temporary injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction to prevent irreparable harm, pending any ruling obtained through arbitration. . .

Doc. 1-1 at pp. 6-7.

II. Standard

"Arbitration agreements are governed by the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA")." Hoffman v. Cargillnc, 236 F.3d 458, 461 (8th Cir. 2001). The FAA mandates broad enforcement of arbitration provisions:

A written provision in ... a contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract or transaction ... or an agreement in writing to submit to arbitration an existing controversy arising out of such a contract, transaction, or refusal, shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.

9 U.S.C. §2.

A party aggrieved by the alleged failure, neglect, or refusal of another to arbitrate under a written agreement for arbitration may petition any United States district court which, save for such agreement, would have jurisdiction under title 28, in a civil action or in admiralty of the subject matter of a suit arising out of the controversy between the parties, for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such agreement.

9 U.S.C. §4.

The FAA establishes a "liberal federal policy favoring arbitration." AT&T Mobility LLC v. Conception, 563 U.S....

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