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Jan G. Mccamey v. Hewlett Packard Company

September 9, 2011

JAN G. MCCAMEY
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HEWLETT PACKARD COMPANY, FRANK BOULLIER, ROBERT LANGERMAN, AND THOMAS RATHJENS DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter is before the court on the motions of defendant Hewlett Packard Company ("HP" or "defendant")*fn1 to dismiss plaintiff Jan McCamey's ("plaintiff") complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("FRCP") 12(b)(6) and to strike paragraphs 12-19 of plaintiff's complaint pursuant to FRCP 12(f).*fn2 Plaintiff opposes the motion. Defendant seeks dismissal of plaintiff's claims*fn3 for (1) unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), (2) violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and FEHA for disparate treatment, (3) violation of the ADA and FEHA for failure to reasonably accommodate and (4) violation of the ADA and FEHA for failure to engage in the interactive process.*fn4 Defendant also moves to strike paragraphs twelve to nineteen of plaintiff's first amended complaint.

BACKGROUND

This case arises out of plaintiff's allegations that she was treated disparately by her employer, defendant HP, because of her disability and that HP retaliated against her after she complained to the corporation of specific instances of past sexual harassment.

HP employed plaintiff until March of 2009, when HP terminated her. (Pl.'s First Am. Compl. ["FAC"], filed May 23, 2011, [Docket #6], ¶1). Plaintiff originally worked for HP's Houston office. (FAC ¶ 11.) Plaintiff alleges that, between June of 2003 and March of 2006, when she was in Houston, she was both sexually harassed and sexually assaulted*fn5 by three separate HP employees.*fn6 (Id.) In the Spring of 2006, HP began an investigation into whether plaintiff was receiving preferential treatment. (Id. ¶ 41.) During the course of the investigation, plaintiff was interviewed by HP's human resources department. (Id. ¶ 42.) During the interview, plaintiff reported the alleged previous sexual assaults and sexual harassment of three HP employees. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that, after the investigation, human resources told her they would be recommending a salary increase; that increase, however, never came to fruition. (Id. ¶¶ 45.) On July 26, 2006, plaintiff provided human resources with a detailed report regarding the alleged assault and harassment. (Id. ¶ 48.)

After the report, human resources instituted another investigation. (Id. ¶ 49.) During the course of the second investigation, HP ordered plaintiff to attend a meeting in Cupertino, California, accompanied with the three men she alleges assaulted and harassed her. (Id.) Subsequently, plaintiff provided human resources with the names of witnesses she alleges had direct knowledge of the assaults and harassment. (Id. ¶ 50.) According to plaintiff, nobody from HR contacted any of the witnesses plaintiff disclosed. (Id.)

In August 2006, plaintiff moved to California to work out of HP's Roseville office. (Id. ¶ 52.) Plaintiff alleges that, in conjunction with the move to California, HP promised she would receive an 11% pay raise. (Id.) According to the complaint, on October 12, 2006, after plaintiff moved to California, defendant informed her that "her move to California, 11% California pay differential, and her request to [work] as a home based employee . . . had not yet been approved and would likely be denied." (Id. ¶ 53.) The next day, HP increased plaintiffs job responsibilities, transferring to plaintiff certain projects previously handled by other employees. (Id. ¶ 54.)

In December of 2006, plaintiff was called to a meeting to discuss the complaint she filed five months before. (Id. ¶ 57.) At the meeting, human resources allegedly told plaintiff that she no longer needed to worry about any future harassment because the men she alleged assaulted and/or harassed her had either left the company or had taken "standards of business training." (Id.) Plaintiff felt that the outcome of the investigation was unacceptable. (Id. ¶ 59.)

Plaintiff claims that her work "environment became so hostile that [she] suffered physical and emotional injuries resulting in her seeking further medical attention." (Id. ¶ 59.) Plaintiff, at the recommendation of her physician, remained on disability through 2007, 2008 and 2009. (Id. ¶ 59-60.) Plaintiff claims that she incurred thousands of dollars of medical expenses that have not been reimbursed." (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges that, in January of 2008, she received a letter from HP informing her that she would be administratively terminated. (Id. ¶ 61.) After receiving the letter, plaintiff protested that such a termination would be wrongful given her disability, which plaintiff alleges was "proximately caused" by the harassment and discrimination she suffered at HP. (Id.) Subsequently, HP revoked plaintiff's termination and she was permitted to remain on leave. (Id.) In January of 2009 HP informed plaintiff that her disability benefits had been exhausted. (Id. ¶ 62.) Finally, in March of 2009, HP administratively terminated plaintiff.

Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") (Id. ¶ 69.) The EEOC issued a right to sue letter on January 7, 2011 and a copy of the charge was thereafter filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH"). (Id. ¶ 69.) Plaintiff, in her opposition to the motion to dismiss, alleges that she also received a right to sue letter from DFEH. (See Pl.'s Opp'n at 7:2.)

STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), a pleading must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Under notice pleading in federal court, the complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations omitted). "This simplified notice pleading standard relies on liberal discovery rules and summary judgment motions to define disputed facts and issues and to dispose of unmeritorious claims." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002).

On a motion to dismiss, the factual allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). The court is bound to give plaintiff the benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn from the "well-pleaded" allegations of the complaint. Retail Clerks Int'l Ass'n v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 753 n.6 (1963). A plaintiff need not allege "'specific facts' beyond those necessary to state his claim and the grounds showing entitlement to relief." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Nevertheless, the court "need not assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations." United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d 638, 643 n.2 (9th Cir. 1986). While Rule 8(a) does not require detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. A pleading is insufficient if it offers mere "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."). Moreover, it is inappropriate to assume that the plaintiff "can prove facts which it has not alleged or that the defendants have violated the . . . laws in ways that have not been alleged." Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983).

Ultimately, the court may not dismiss a complaint in which the plaintiff has alleged "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Only where a plaintiff has failed to "nudge [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible," is the complaint properly dismissed. Id. at 1952. While the plausibility requirement is not akin to a probability requirement, it demands more than "a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 1949. This plausibility inquiry is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950.

In ruling upon a motion to dismiss, the court may consider only the complaint, any exhibits thereto, and matters which may be judicially noticed pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201. See Mir v. Little Co. Of Mary Hospital, 844 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1988); Isuzu Motors Ltd. v. ...


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