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Tukay v. United Airlines, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 10, 2015

HENRY TUKAY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED AIRLINES, INC., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS Re: ECF No. 32

JON S. TIGAR, District Judge.

Before the Court is defendant United Airlines' motion to dismiss two causes of action from plaintiff Henry Tukay's First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). ECF No. 35.

I. Background

A. Factual Background[1]

For more than twenty-three years, Tukay worked as a mechanic for United at its Oakland and San Francisco maintenance base. ECF No. 32 at 1. Tukay is 57 year-old Filipino male who is disabled. Id. at 2. Tukay suffers from Hypertension, Lumber Intervert Disc Displacement, and Lumber Spinal Stenosis, and has also been diagnosed with a Diabetic condition. Id.

United terminated Tukay's employment on March 14, 2013 after he was accused of vandalizing another employee's car in the workplace parking lot. Id. Tukay alleges that United had "no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to report plaintiff to the police, and in fact the San Mateo District Attorney subsequently dismissed all charges against plaintiff." Id. Tukay also alleges that employees of different races were not terminated for "similar misconduct, " but that "other employees of Filipino descent were terminated." Id.

B. Procedural History

On August 4, 2014, Tukay filed suit in the Superior Court of the County of San Mateo. ECF No. 1, Ex. A. In his complaint, Tukay alleged claims for discrimination based on age and disability, retaliation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, violation of California Labor Code §§ 201 and 203, and defamation. Id. United[2] removed the action to federal court, id., and later filed a motion to dismiss, ECF No. 8. Tukay did not oppose the motion, but filed a motion to remand to state court. ECF No. 16. In an order granting in part and denying in part United's motion to dismiss, this Court: (1) determined it has diversity jurisdiction over the present case; (2) dismissed defendant United Continental Holdings, Inc. from the suit; (3) granted the motion without prejudice with respect to Tukay's disability discrimination, retaliation, and defamation claims; and (4) denied the motion with respect to Tukay's claims for age discrimination, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and violation of the California Labor Code. ECF No. 21. Tukay filed a motion to amend the complaint, ECF No. 23, which the Court granted. ECF No. 31.

On February 15, 2015, Tukay filed his First Amendment Complaint ("FAC"), renewing all his previous claims and alleging new claims for discrimination based on race and veteran status. ECF No. 32 at 32. United subsequently filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's defamation and veteran discrimination claims, ECF No. 35, [3] which the Court now considers.

II. Jurisdiction

The Court exercises diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) and federal question jurisdiction over Tukay's disability discrimination claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and veteran status discrimination claim pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 4323(b).

III. Motion to Dismiss

A. Legal Standard

On a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts the material facts alleged in the complaint, together with all reasonable inferences to be drawn from those facts, as true. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). However, "the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To be entitled to the presumption of truth, a complaint's allegations "must contain sufficient allegations of ...


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