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Cheek v. United Healthcare

Court of Appeals of Maryland
835 A.2d 656 (2003)


Facts

United Healthcare (United) (defendant) made Ronnie Cheek (plaintiff) an oral offer of employment, followed by a written offer that same day. The written offer conditioned employment on, among other things, Cheek’s acceptance of United’s arbitration policy. United sent a summary of the arbitration policy with Cheek’s employment offer. Cheek accepted the offer, agreed to all the offer’s terms, and began working at United. On Cheek’s first day of work, he was given United’s employee handbook. The handbook contained another summary of the arbitration agreement. The arbitration agreement specifically provided that: (1) all employment disputes not resolved internally were to be arbitrated, (2) any arbitration would be final and binding, (3) either party could initiate arbitration, and (4) United alone had the absolute right to “alter, amend, modify, or revoke” the policy with or without notice at any time. The employee handbook acknowledgement form stated that the arbitration policy was a binding contract, and Cheek signed the form. Seven months later, United terminated Cheek’s employment. Cheek responded by suing United in court. United filed a motion to compel the matter to arbitration. The trial court granted United’s motion and ordered Cheek to arbitrate his claims. Cheek appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Battaglia, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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