Tenth Circuit Finds Non-Signatory May Compel Arbitration Based on Equitable Estoppel

Defendant SemGroup Corp. and intervenor-defendant Cypress Environmental Management-TIR appealed an Oklahoma district court order denying their motions to compel arbitration. The plaintiff, Robert Ferrell, was a Cypress employee. He and Cypress entered into an employment agreement containing an arbitration clause, but SemGroup was not a party to that agreement. After Ferrell filed a putative class action against SemGroup, SemGroup moved to dismiss and compel arbitration, relying on the arbitration clause in the Ferrell/Cypress employment agreement.

Cypress intervened, and both Cypress and SemGroup moved to dismiss and compel arbitration, arguing: (1) there was a question of arbitrability to be decided by the arbitrator as to whether a delegation clause in the arbitration agreement applied to non-signatories, such as SemGroup; and (2) arbitration of Ferrell’s claims was required based on theories of equitable estoppel…

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