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Submitted: February 16, 2011

Before LOKEN, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

Kevin Schieffer became President and CEO of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (“DM&E”) in 1996. In December 2004, anticipating a change of control, Schieffer and DM&E entered into an Employment Agreement to encourage his ongoing employment and to provide lucrative benefits should he be terminated without cause or resign for good reason, terms defined in the Agreement. In October 2008, with regulatory approval of a merger imminent, DM&E terminated Schieffer without cause, triggering the Employment Agreement’s various severance provisions. Post-merger disputes arose as to the amounts DM&E owed. Schieffer filed a demand for arbitration under the Employment Agreement’s arbitration provision. DM&E commenced this action to enjoin the arbitration as preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq.

 
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