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Bower v. Foster Farms

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 19, 2015

BARON BOWER, Plaintiff,
FOSTER FARMS, Defendant.


STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Baron Bower ("Plaintiff"), appearing pro se in this action, filed the complaint in this action on January 16, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) Currently before the Court is Defendant Foster Farm's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 5.) No opposition to the motion has been filed.[1]

A hearing on the motion to dismiss was held on March 18, 2015. (ECF No. 15.) Counsel Josiah Prendergast appeared for Defendant and Mr. Bower appeared in propria persona. (Id.) Having considered the moving papers, arguments at the March 18, 2015 hearing, as well as the Court's file, the Court issues the following findings and recommendation.



Plaintiff began working for Foster Farms in 1982. He was one of six employees who filed a lawsuit against Foster Farms in March of 2002. The employees were represented by counsel in the 2002 action. The parties engaged in mediation that lasted 15 hours. The parties to the action, including Plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement provides that the plaintiffs waive, release and forever discharge and agree they will not pursue or prosecute any claims, complaints, charges, etc. for any claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the California Fair Housing and Employment Act, Government Code ยง 12900 et seq., the California Labor Code, the American's with Disabilities Act, the California Family Leave Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Employment Retirement Income Security Act against Foster Farms or any of its current or former owners, officials, directors, officers, shareholders, affiliates, etc. with respect to any event, matter, claim, damage or injury arising out of the plaintiffs' employment relationship with Foster Farms. Plaintiff received a monetary settlement and as part of the settlement agreement he resigned his position with Foster Farms.

Plaintiff was offered a job in 2006 by Beazer Homes which was withdrawn after Foster Farms gave him a poor reference stating he was not working due to violence in the workplace. In 2007, Plaintiff filed a case in this Court, Bower v. Foster Farms Dairy, 1:07-cv-0917-LJO-SMS. As relevant here, after defendant filed a motion to dismiss or alternately for summary judgment, Judge O'Neill dismissed the case finding that Plaintiff was bound by the terms of the settlement agreement and did not seek rescission during the limitations period.

In this action, Plaintiff seeks to set aside the settlement agreement in the 2002 case and restore his rights.



Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may file a motion to dismiss on the grounds that a complaint "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." 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)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bellunlawfully Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In assessing the sufficiency of a complaint, all well-pleaded factual allegations must be accepted as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. However, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 678.

In deciding whether a complaint states a claim, the Ninth Circuit has found that two principles apply. First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth the allegations in the complaint "may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively." Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). Second, so that it is not unfair to require the defendant to be subjected to the expenses associated with discovery and continued litigation, the factual allegations of the complaint, which are taken as true, must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief. Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216.



Defendant moves to dismiss this action with prejudice on the grounds that no basis for federal jurisdiction is pled in the complaint, Plaintiff has not alleged facts to state a claim, and each claim ...

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