Salas v. GE Oil & Gas, 051217 FED5, 16-20379

Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Judge Panel:Before SMITH, PRADO, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.
Opinion Judge:EDWARD C. PRADO, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:GASPAR SALAS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GE OIL & GAS, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:May 12, 2017
Docket Nº:16-20379

GASPAR SALAS, Plaintiff-Appellee,


GE OIL & GAS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 16-20379

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

May 12, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

          Before SMITH, PRADO, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.

          EDWARD C. PRADO, Circuit Judge:

         Plaintiff-Appellee Gaspar Salas brought claims against Defendant- Appellant GE Oil & Gas ("GE") for discrimination and retaliation. The district court granted GE's motion to compel arbitration and dismissed the case. However, the court later reopened the case and withdrew its prior order compelling arbitration. Because the district court lacked jurisdiction to do so, we VACATE and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Salas is a former employee of GE. When Salas accepted employment at GE's predecessor, Dresser, Inc., he agreed to arbitrate all disputes between the two parties. After GE acquired Dresser, Inc., GE introduced its own dispute resolution program called Solutions. GE advised Salas that if he continued to work at the company after November 1, 2013, he would "agree to participate in and abide by" this arbitration program. Salas did continue to work at GE past this date. In June 2014, Salas brought suit against GE in the district court claiming discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. GE then moved to compel arbitration. The district court granted this motion in December 2014 and dismissed Salas's claims without prejudice.

         The parties did not move forward with arbitration. Each side blames the other for the delay. In February 2016, Salas filed a motion in the district court to compel arbitration; GE opposed this motion as redundant. After a telephonic conference on this motion, the district court issued an order on March 30, 2016, reopening the case and withdrawing its earlier order compelling arbitration. The district court noted in this order that the parties had "failed" to arbitrate. After the court denied GE's motion for reconsideration, GE timely appealed.


         The parties contest both whether the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to issue its March 30, 2016 order and whether we have appellate jurisdiction over that order. We address appellate jurisdiction first.

         A. ...

To continue reading