A judge has ordered former Las Vegas television news anchor Sue Manteris to arbitrate her grievances against her former TV station.
In a setback for Manteris, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro put her lawsuit against KSNV-DTV, Channel 3, on hold last week and granted KSNV’s motion that the lawsuit issues be handled through private arbitration.
Manteris worked for KSNV for some 22 years. In May, just before her contract expired and was not renewed, she sued the station.
Her lawsuit alleged she had been subjected to discrimination on the basis of age, race and gender — charges denied by KSNV.
As the lawsuit progressed, attorneys for KSNV demanded that the issues be privately arbitrated as spelled out in her employment contract and that the arbitration be binding.
Attorneys for Manteris sought to continue litigating the suit in the federal court, a public forum, and they demanded a jury trial.
Her attorneys said the employment agreement provided for arbitration only of claims arising under state law; and that the bulk of her lawsuit alleged violations of federal law.
In her order signed last week, Navarro sided with the TV station. She cited case law finding that, if in doubt about whether a case should be arbitrated, courts should lean toward the arbitration option as opposed to litigation.
''The court finds that the arbitration clause can clearly be interpreted to cover all of plaintiff’s claims. Therefore, arbitration will be compelled,'' Navarro wrote in her ruling.
The ruling didn't mention whether the arbitration would be binding, as demanded by KSNV.
The ruling means that, unless the case is settled, it likely will be out of the public eye for some time during the arbitration process.
Arbitration is often touted as being more efficient and less expensive for litigants, compared with lawsuits.
One drawback of arbitration is that the parties may end up in court anyway should either side violate the terms of the arbitration decision.
“It’s early in the case and regardless of whether we proceed through arbitration or ultimately through a jury trial, we simply will not back down from our commitment to have the legal system fully explore the merits of Ms. Manteris’s case,'' her attorney, Gus Flangas, said in response to Navarro's ruling.