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Arias v. Raimando

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 30, 2015

Jose Arnulfo Arias, Plaintiff,
v.
Anthony Raimando; and DOES 1-20, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

TROY L. NUNLEY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant Anthony Raimondo's ("Defendant") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 35.) Plaintiff Jose Arnulfo Arias ("Plaintiff") filed an opposition to Defendant's motion. (ECF No. 45.) The Court has reviewed and considered the arguments raised in Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Reply, along with Plaintiff's Opposition. The Court hereby grants Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with leave to amend.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in 2006 in California Superior Court, San Joaquin County against his former employers, Angelo Dairy owners Luis M. Angelo, Maria D. Angelo, and Joe Angelo ("Dairy Defendants"). (ECF No. 34 at ¶ 17.) The lawsuit alleged that the Dairy Defendants violated wage-and-hour laws under the California Labor Code.[1] (ECF No. 34 at ¶ 17.) Defendant Raimondo was the attorney representing the Dairy Defendants in that previous litigation and was not named as a defendant. (ECF No. 34 at ¶ 18.) In 2011, as the trial date approached, Defendant Raimondo reported Plaintiff to the United States Immigration and Customers Enforcement ("ICE"), allegedly in retaliation for Plaintiff's assertion of his legally protected workplace rights. (ECF No. 34 at ¶ 23.)

Plaintiff filed his original complaint with this Court on May 8, 2013, against the Dairy Defendants and Defendant Raimondo alleging (1) retaliation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"); and (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress. (ECF. No. 1.) Dairy Defendants and Defendant Raimondo filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on June 5, 2013. (ECF No. 11.) On October 9, 2013, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the Dairy Defendants from the original complaint with prejudice, leaving Defendant Raimondo as the sole defendant. (ECF No. 23.) The Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend, finding that Plaintiff failed to adequately plead that Defendant Raimondo, the only remaining defendant in the action, was Plaintiff's employer for the purposes of his FLSA claim. (ECF No. 33 at 6.) The Court also dismissed Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim with leave to amend. (ECF No. 33 at 6.)

Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint on July 10, 2014. (ECF No. 34.) Plaintiff alleges three claims for relief in said complaint: (1) retaliation in violation of the FLSA; (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (3) unfair competition in violation of California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq. (ECF No. 34.) Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, and any other relief the Court deems just and proper. (ECF No. 34.)

II. STANDARD OF LAW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a pleading contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (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). A 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, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)).

Nevertheless, a 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, 556 U.S. at 678. 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; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 ("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 that 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, a 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, 556 U.S. at 697 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Only where a plaintiff fails to "nudge[] [his or her] claims... across the line from conceivable to plausible[, ]" is the complaint properly dismissed. Id. at 680. 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 678. This plausibility inquiry is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679.

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 Hosp., 844 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1988); Isuzu Motors Ltd. v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc., 12 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1042 (C.D. Cal. 1998).

If a complaint fails to state a plausible claim, "[a] district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.'" Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 484, 497 (9th Cir. 1995)); see also Gardner v. Marino, 563 F.3d 981, 990 (9th Cir. 2009) (finding no abuse of discretion in denying leave to amend when amendment would be futile). Although a district court should freely give leave to amend when justice so requires under Rule 15(a)(2), "the court's discretion to deny such leave is particularly broad' where the plaintiff has ...


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