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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Infiniti of Fairfield

June 21, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge


Previously pending on this court's law and motion calendar for June 16, 2011 was the application of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for enforcement of administrative subpoena, filed April 14, 2011. Marcia Mitchell appeared for applicant. There was no appearance for respondent. After requesting and receiving supplemental authority from the EEOC, and having reviewed the motion and the documents in support, the court now issues the following order.


Applicant seeks enforcement of the January 10, 2011 subpoena issued by the EEOC to respondent, Infiniti of Fairfield (hereinafter respondent). The EEOC makes its application pursuant to § 7(b) of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 626

(b), as amended, and § 107 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12117, incorporating by reference §§ 709 and 710 of Title VII, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-8, 2000e-9.

The subject of this EEOC investigation is Infiniti of Fairfield, respondent, an employer within the meaning of Title VII. Respondent is located within this judicial district.

The EEOC charge, Charge No. 555-2009-00751, alleges termination based on age and disability. Charging Party Amos J. Corley, Jr.G, a person over the age of 40 with a disability, alleges that he was hired by respondent on March 30, 2009, and abruptly terminated by respondent on April 9, 2009, two days after his 67th birthday, on the basis of his age and disability. (See Decl. of Michael Connolly, Ex. A.)

On May 14, 2009, Mr. Corley filed a charge with the Commission which was cross-filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (hereinafter "DFEH"). On June 23, 2009, the Commission served a Notice of Charge of Discrimination on respondent pertaining to Mr. Corley's allegations. (Connolly Decl., Ex. C.) Also on this date, the EEOC sent its Request for Information (hereinafter "RFI") letter to respondent. (Id., Ex. D.) The EEOC's RFI letter required respondent to submit various relevant documents by July 23, 2009. (Id.)

On July 23, 2010, the EEOC sent a letter to respondent pertaining to Mr. Corley's case because there was no response to the EEOC's request of June 23, 2009. (Id., Ex. E.) In that letter, the EEOC once again requested the relevant documents to be produced by August 2, 2010, but informed respondent the EEOC would resort to the subpoena process if the documents were not submitted timely. (Id.) After the documents were not produced, the EEOC on September 2, 2010, again requested production by September13, 2010. (Id., Ex. F.)

The EEOC received a letter from respondent, dated September 10, 2010, which explained respondent's position on the case, but received no documents. (Id., Ex. G.)

On January 10, 2011, the EEOC served Administrative Subpoena No. SF-11-031 by certified mail on respondent's Human Resources Manager, Michelle Lopez. (Id., Exs. H, I.) The subpoena directed respondent to produce seventeen categories of documents on January 24, 2011. (Id.) Respondent did not respond to the subpoena or contact the EEOC since that time. (Jensen Decl., ¶ 4.)

The EEOC's legal unit made numerous attempts to secure voluntary compliance. In addition to the letters and subpoena set forth above, EEOC legal staff telephoned Ms. Lopez on September 15 and October 19, 2010, regarding the missing documents and subpoena. (See Decls. of Kristine Jensen, ¶ 3, Ahlam Abdellatif, ¶ 2.) In addition to failing to respond in any meaningful way to the requests, and totally failing to respond to the subpoena, respondent has not responded in the instant action.


The investigatory subpoena power of the EEOC is based on specific statutory authority. The EEOC has express statutory authority to issue "subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of any evidence*fn1 " during its investigations. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-9, incorporating the provisions of 29 U.S.C. §§ 161(1). The EEOC has the power to investigate charges of discrimination and to utilize the statutory subpoena power in doing so. EEOC v. Children's Hosp. Medical Ctr., 719 F.2d 1426, 1428 (9th Cir.1983); 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 2000e-5(b); 2000e-8(a); 2000e-9. InChildren's Hospital, the court stated that: "The scope of judicial inquiry in an EEOC or any other agency subpoena enforcement proceeding is quite narrow."Id. at 1428. The relevant questions to be addressed by the court are: "(1) whether Congress has granted the authority to investigate; (2) whether procedural requirements have been followed; and (3) whether the evidence is relevant and material to the investigation."Id. Once this determination is made, the court must enforce the subpoena "unless the party ...

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