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Williams v. United Airlines

June 3, 2005

ANTHONY L. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED AIRLINES, INC., RON KING AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE

Defendants United Airlines, Inc. and Ron King move, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), to dismiss counts two through four in the first amended complaint (FAC) filed by Plaintiff Anthony L. Williams. Plaintiff, in propria persona, opposes the motion. Plaintiff also moves to strike all non-management persons listed in Defendants' initial disclosures. The matters were heard on May 6, 2005. Having considered the parties' papers and oral argument on the motions, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss and DENIES Plaintiff's motion to strike.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are alleged in the FAC. Plaintiff was employed by United as an airframe maintenance mechanic in Oakland from 1989 until his termination in May, 2003. King was, at all times relevant to this action, Plaintiff's direct supervisor.

On July 16, 2002, Plaintiff and a co-worker were issued a job card ordering them to perform maintenance that included lubricating cables and pulleys on a particular aircraft wing. After viewing the aircraft, Plaintiff did not think he could complete the task as ordered unless parts of the wing surface were removed. The crew leads informed Plaintiff that it would not be necessary to remove the wing surface, but Plaintiff nevertheless stated that he would refuse to sign the work order unless the surface was removed. King, the team leader, then came to the scene and told Plaintiff that he should complete the job as ordered by the crew leads and sign the order. Plaintiff refused, despite severe and constant badgering, including threats of termination, by King. Eventually, Plaintiff's co-worker completed the job without removing the wing surface and King signed the maintenance card.

On July 23, 2002, Plaintiff issued a "letter of concern," reporting to United management and his union that King had falsified information and violated United's aircraft maintenance rules. On September 28, 2002, United's operating manager sent Plaintiff a "letter of closure" stating that the company could not substantiate any of Plaintiff's claims.

On December 15, 2002, Plaintiff told his foreman, Larry Trickett, that he was interested in taking vacation time in January of the following year. Trickett informed Plaintiff that he should ask general manager Ron Torres for vacation time.

When Plaintiff did, Torres told him that only the resource center could grant vacation. Upon Plaintiff's request, resource center foreman Steve Blackwood granted him fifteen days of vacation; Plaintiff was scheduled to return to work on January 20, 2003. Blackwood also told Plaintiff that if he wanted additional vacation days, he should call Blackwood or his stand-in to request them and they would be granted.

On January 18, Plaintiff called the resource center from Thailand to request additional vacation days. He was informed by a secretary that Blackwood had retired, and that only Trickett could approve additional vacation days. When Plaintiff called Trickett, Trickett informed him that he would not be granted an extension. Nevertheless, Plaintiff did not return to work until January 28. On March 8, Plaintiff was charged with unauthorized absence and issued a level four disciplinary report.

On May 8, 2003, Plaintiff was called by union representative Robert Walton into a meeting to discuss his upcoming disciplinary hearing on the unauthorized absence charge. Also present at the meeting were union representatives Mike Fitzpatrick and Javier Lectora. During the meeting, Plaintiff alleges, Lectora began verbally abusing him and, when he attempted to leave, pushed him with both hands. After the altercation, Plaintiff left the meeting and called the police. According to the police report,*fn1 Walton and Fitzpatrick both told responding officers that Plaintiff had initiated the verbal and physical confrontation with Lectora and had bumped him chest-to-chest as Lectora tried to leave.

As a result of the May 8 incident, Plaintiff was issued a level five disciplinary report and terminated. Plaintiff has since suffered from headaches, anxiety, anger and an inability to sleep. He filed his initial complaint on September 8, 2004, alleging four causes of action: (1) retaliatory discrimination under the Airline Deregulation Act's Whistleblower Protection Program (WPP), (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (3) intentional misrepresentation, and (4) negligent misrepresentation.

On November 8, 2004, Defendants moved to dismiss each count in the initial complaint. On February 16, 2005, the Court issued an order granting Defendants' motion in part and denying it in part. Specifically, the Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss the first count (retaliatory discrimination) and granted Defendants' motion to dismiss the remaining causes of action, granting Plaintiff leave to amend. On March 9, 2005, Plaintiff filed the FAC, which alleges the same four causes of action, but which amends slightly the second, third and fourth claims. Defendants now move to dismiss the second (intentional infliction of emotional distress), third (intentional misrepresentation) and fourth (negligent misrepresentation) counts in the FAC. Plaintiff filed his motion to strike all non-management persons listed in Defendants' initial disclosures on April 15, 2005.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim will be denied unless it is "clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Falkowski v. Imation Corp., 309 F.3d 1123, 1132 (9th Cir. 2002), citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (2002). A complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). "Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleading or motions are required." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e). These rules "do not require a claimant to set out in detail the facts upon which he bases his claim. To the contrary, all the Rules require is 'a ...


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