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Hua v. Donahoe

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 24, 2015

CUONG CUU HUA, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK R. DONAHOE, POSTMASTER GENERAL, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, DONNA SOSA, POSTMASTER, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, FRANK MALONE, POST MASTER, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, LUIS M. GONZALEZ, SUPERVISOR, ROB LINDBLOOM, SUPERVISOR, RAYMOND TAN, SUPERVISOR, Defendants.

ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT [DKT. NOS. 20, 21, 22]

DEAN D. PREGERSON, District Judge.

Before the court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court grants the motion and adopts the following order.

I. BACKGROUND

Cuong Cuu Hua ("Plaintiff") was a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service ("USPS"), Monterey Park branch, from 1998 until 2012. (First Am. Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff alleges he was subject to retaliatory actions by Postmaster for the Monterey Park USPS branch, Donna Sosa, Postmaster for the Rosemead USPS branch, Frank Malone, and supervisors Rob Lindbloom, Raymond Tan, and Luis Gonzalez.[1] (Id. at 3-7.) From 2010 through 2012, Plaintiff filed a number of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") complaints against Defendants Sosa, Gonzalez, Lindbloom, and Tan alleging these retaliatory actions. (Id.) Plaintiff's employment was terminated in 2012. (Id. at 7.)

On July 28, 2014, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint with this Court asserting four causes of action. (Compl.) Plaintiff's Complaint asserted claims for retaliation under Title VII against individuals Sosa, Gonzalez, and Lindbloom and a claim for wrongful termination against Malone. (Id. at 7-10.) On October 6, 2014, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint on the grounds that Plaintiff named improper defendants and failed to complete sufficient service of process. (Def. Mot. at 1, Dkt. No. 8.) On November 5, 2014, the Court granted Defendants' motion and dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint, without prejudice, with leave to amend within thirty days. (Order at 6, Dkt. No. 16.) Specifically, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint naming Postmaster General Donahoe as defendant as to Plaintiff's asserted claims. (Id.)

On December 3, 2014, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") with this Court asserting three causes of action. (FAC at 8-11.) Plaintiff's FAC asserted claims for retaliation and discrimination on the basis of race and national origin against individuals Sosa, Gonzalez, Lindbloom, and Tan, and wrongful termination against individual Malone and Postmaster General Donahoe. (Id.)

On January 21, 2015, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's FAC on two grounds: (1) failure to exhaust administrative remedies regarding claims of race and national origin discrimination, and (2) naming improper defendants. (Def. Mot. at 1-2, Dkt. No. 20.) Following an opposition by Plaintiff and a reply by Defendants, the Court found these matters suitable for decision without oral argument and vacated the scheduled hearing. (Order, Feb. 19, 2015, Dkt. No. 23.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

In order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a complaint need only include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint must include "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570 (2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must "accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). In general, pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Improper Defendants

Under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. ยง2000-e-2, et seq., claims "based upon federal employment discrimination" are to be brought "against the director of the agency concerned." See White v. Gen. Servs. Admin., 652 F.2d 913, 916 n.4 (9th Cir. 1981). "The Postmaster General is deemed the only appropriate defendant" in an Title VII action against the USPS. Mahoney v. U.S. Postal Serv., 884 F.2d 1194, 1196 (9th Cir. 1989). There is no personal liability for employees, including supervisors, in a Title VII action. See Greenlaw v. Garret, 59 F.3d 994, 1001 (9th Cir. 1994).

As noted in this Court's previous order dismissing the individual defendants, the case law on bringing claims against USPS under Title VII is well defined. The only proper defendant under Title VII is USPS Postmaster General Brennan, [2] and the alleged wrongful actions of Defendants Sosa, Malone, Gonzalez, Lindbloom, and Tan may provide the basis for Plaintiff's claims against Postmaster General Brennan. The Court finds Defendants Sosa, Gonzalez, ...


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