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Minor v. FedEx office & Print Servs., Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

January 16, 2015

GARY MINOR, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDEX OFFICE AND PRINT SERVICES, INC., FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION, and DOES 3 to 50, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Gary Minor, Plaintiff: Barbara Emily Cowin Figari, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Figari Law Firm, Pasadena, CA.

For Fedex Office and Print Services, Inc., Defendant: Brooke Sikora Purcell, Gregory Clement Cheng, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, P.C., San Francisco, CA.

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ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT FEDEX OFFICE AND PRINT SERVICES, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS

LUCY H. KOH, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Gary Minor (" Minor" ) filed this action against his former employer, Defendant FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc. (" FedEx Office" ), as well as Federal Express Corporation. ECF No. 24. Plaintiff asserts five claims under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (" FEHA" ), Cal. Gov. Code § § 12900 et seq., and a sixth claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. See id.

Before the Court is FedEx Office's motion to dismiss all of Minor's claims. See ECF No. 25. Having considered the parties' submissions, the record in this case, and the applicable law, the Court GRANTS FedEx Office's motion to dismiss in its entirety, without leave to amend.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Minor's Employment and Termination

Minor has filed four complaints in this matter, three in state court before the case was removed, and a third amended complaint after this Court granted FedEx Office's motion for judgment on the pleadings. See ECF Nos. 1-1, 1-2, & 24. The Court summarizes the facts as they are stated in Minor's operative complaint.

Minor was hired by Defendant FedEx Office in August 2006 and began working as a store manager in September 2006. ECF No. 24 (" Third Am. Compl." ), ¶ 13. As a store manager, Minor supervised other employees and performed other duties required to manage a store. Id. On October 19, 2006, Minor discovered that timecards had been altered, and filed a complaint with management. Id. ¶ 15. That same day, Minor was demoted to assistant manager. Id. ¶ 16. In January 2007, Minor was transferred to a different location, and no longer held any duties as an assistant manager. Id. ¶ 17.

Minor went on a medical leave of absence in October 2007 to have a right hip replacement. Id. ¶ 18. Minor underwent surgery in January 2008, and returned to work in March 2008 after learning his position was in peril and that his medical insurance had been canceled. Id. ¶ ¶ 21-23. Minor filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (" DFEH" ) on May 19, 2008. Id. ¶ 24. The DFEH denied Minor's claim on June 19, 2008. Id. ¶ 26.

Around May 2008, Minor tripped over a rubber floor mat at work and injured his left knee. Id. ¶ 25. On June 30, 2008, Minor was placed on disability leave by his treating physician. Id. ¶ 27. Minor underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in November 2008, and returned to work in January 2009. Id. ¶ ¶ 28-29. In March 2010, Minor was left alone in the store to complete shipments, requiring Minor to lift heavy boxes despite his knee injury. Id. ¶ 30. On February 25, 2011, FedEx Office terminated Minor. Id. ¶ 31.

Minor claims that his termination was unlawful. Specifically, Minor asserts five FEHA claims against FedEx Office: (1) discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of FEHA § 12946, id. ¶ ¶ 33-42; (2) failure to make reasonable accommodations in violation of FEHA § 12940(m), id. ¶ ¶ 43-48; (3) failure to protect from discrimination in violation of FEHA § 12940(k), id. ¶ ¶ 49-51; (4) retaliation in violation of FEHA § 12940(h), id. ¶ ¶ 52-54; and (5) failure to grant leave under the California Family Rights Act (" CFRA" ) in violation of FEHA § 12945.2, id. ¶ ¶ 55-61. Minor also asserts a sixth claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy

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pursuant to Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 27 Cal.3d 167, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330 (1980), on the grounds that Minor's termination was motivated by his disability, request for time off, or both. Id. ¶ ¶ 62-68.

B. Class Action Suit and Settlement Agreement

In 2009, Minor was a Class Representative in a wage-and-hour class action against FedEx Office before Judge Thelton E. Henderson of this Court (the " 2009 Class Action" ). See ECF No. 22, at 3; ECF No. 17-11; Minor et al. v. FedEx Office & Print Servs. Inc., Case No. 09-1375 (N.D. Cal. filed March 27, 2009). In that case, the plaintiffs claimed that FedEx Office failed to pay overtime wages, provide meal periods, pay a minimum wage, keep accurate records, and indemnify employees' expenses, among other allegations. See ECF No. 17-11.

The parties settled the 2009 Class Action in November 2012. See ECF No. 17-12. The plaintiffs released all claims alleged in return for a settlement of $9,625,000. Id. § § 2.35, 2.23. The Settlement Agreement gave Minor, as a Class Representative, the choice between selecting either a general release or a limited release provision. The general release provision released all claims Minor may have had against FedEx Office. Id. § 2.12. The limited release provision released all of Minor's claims except for five already-filed DFEH complaints, which would be expressly carved out of the general release. Id. § 2.13. Minor was eligible for an enhancement payment of up to $25,000 if he selected the general release provision or an enhancement payment of up to $15,000 if he selected the limited release provision. Id. § 6.7.1. Minor selected the limited release option. See ECF No. 17-14. Judge Henderson preliminarily approved the Settlement Agreement in February 2013, and gave final approval in July 2013. See id.

C. Procedural History

Minor filed the initial complaint in the instant action in Santa Clara County Superior Court on February 8, 2013, against Federal Express Corporation and several Does. ECF No. 1. Minor amended his complaint on May 21, 2013, alleging the six causes of action described above. Id. at 2. On February 7, 2014, Minor substituted FedEx Office and FedEx Corporation for two Does as defendants. See ECF Nos. 1-2. On March 6, 2014, Minor dismissed Federal Express Corporation without prejudice. See ECF No. 1-3. FedEx Office answered on March 7, 2014, see ECF No. 1-4, and removed to this Court on March 10, 2014, ECF No. 1 at 3.

On April 8, 2014, FedEx Office filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. See ECF No. 16. On August 11, 2014, this Court granted FedEx Office's motion. ECF No. 22. As to Minor's five FEHA causes of action, the Court found that Minor failed to allege he exhausted administrative remedies as required by statute, although the Court gave Minor leave to amend to allege that he did so exhaust. Id. at 7-9. As to Minor's sixth cause of action for wrongful termination, the Court found that the Settlement Agreement facially barred Minor's wrongful termination claim. Id. at 9. The Court held that by its express terms, the limited release provision of the Settlement Agreement prohibited, inter alia, tort claims against FedEx Office, and therefore prohibited Minor's wrongful termination claim. Id. at 9-10. The Court also found that while the limited release provision did carve out five enumerated administrative complaints Minor had already filed with a governmental agency, Minor's wrongful termination claim did not fall within the carve-out provision. Id. at 10.

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The Court therefore granted FedEx Office's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Minor's sixth cause of action, but granted Minor leave to amend to allege the existence of any extrinsic evidence that would show Minor's wrongful termination claim was not in fact barred by the Settlement Agreement. Id. at 10-11. The Court also permitted Minor leave to amend to allege additional facts in support of Minor's claim that FedEx Office obtained Minor's consent to the Settlement Agreement by fraud, deception, and/or misrepresentation. Id. at 11. The Court ordered Minor to file an amended complaint within 30 days, and specified that failure to do so would result in dismissal of Minor's claims with prejudice. Id. at 12.

On September 11, 2014--one day after the Court-imposed 30-day deadline to file an amended complaint[1] --Minor filed his Third Amended Complaint. ECF No. 24. Although the Court had instructed Minor not to add additional parties, the Third Amended Complaint named " Federal Express Corporation" as a new defendant. Id. ¶ 4. The complaint also erroneously identified Federal Express Corporation as the parent company of FedEx Office. Id. On September 29, 2014, FedEx Office filed the instant motion to dismiss, as well as a request for judicial notice. ECF Nos. 25 & 26. On October 14, 2014, Minor filed an opposition ...


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