United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
employment discrimination action, defendants move to dismiss
portions of an amended complaint. For the reasons below, the
motion to dismiss is Granted in part and Denied in part.
Eddie Lindsey is an African-American airline captain who has
been employed by defendant United Airlines, Inc., or its
corporate predecessors since 1979, except for a four-year
hiatus during which he left United to fly for several other
airlines. He alleges that United, along with defendants
Continental Airlines, Inc., and United Continental Holdings,
Inc. (“UCH”) - the corporate parent of United and
Continental - passed him over for promotion on several
occasions because of his race and age, and in retaliation for
his past complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity
proceeding pro se, filed employment discrimination
charges against United with the EEOC in September 2015 after
United declined to promote him to a check airman position (a
type of flight instructor) stating that he was “not
qualified.” A white pilot with fewer years of
experience was given the position instead (Amd. Compl. ¶
29). His EEOC claim, attached as Exhibit A to defendants'
request for judicial notice, stated in full (RJN Exh. A at
I have been employed with this organization since 1979. I am
currently number 25 in seniority out of fourteen thousand
pilots. I have been a Captain for 30 years and during the
past year have attempted 3 times to seek a promotion to the
position of Check Airman.
I was most recently interviewed and denied the promotion on
August 3, 2015. I was informed that I was not as qualified as
I believe I have been discriminated against based on my age
(61), in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act (ADEA) of 1967, as amended.
also checked boxes on the standard EEOC charge form
indicating that he had been discriminated against based on
race, age, and retaliation, and that this was part of a
“continuing action” against him.
January 2016, while his EEOC complaint was pending, Lindsey
applied for the position of assistant chief pilot in San
Francisco. United denied Lindsey this position and instead
gave it to an African-American pilot with fewer years of
experience than him (Amd. Compl. ¶ 30).
EEOC issued Lindsey a right-to-sue letter in November 2016,
and Lindsey, represented by counsel, commenced this action in
February 2017 alleging claims for race and age discrimination
under (1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, (2) 42 U.S.C.
1981, (3) the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (4) the
California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (5) The Texas
Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), and (6) 42 U.S.C.
1985. He filed an amended complaint in April 2017, which pled
the same claims but added allegations that he was also
discriminated against in retaliation for having filed
complaints with the EEOC. His allegations are based upon
United passing him up for a check airman position on multiple
occasions, most recently in 2015, and denying him an
assistant chief pilot position in 2016.
now move to dismiss certain of Lindsey's claims, and to
dismiss Continental and UCH entirely. In his response to
defendants' motion, Lindsey withdrew his FEHA and Section
1985 claims (Pl.'s Opp. at 10-11). This order follows
full briefing and oral argument.
argue that certain of Lindsey's claims should be
dismissed. First, defendants argue that
Lindsey's Title VII, ADEA, and TCHRA claims should be
dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies to
the extent that they are predicated on a disparate-impact
theory, or involve Lindsey's denial promotion to
assistant chief pilot. Second, defendants argue that
Lindsey's claims against UCH should be dismissed both
because he failed to include UCH in his administrative
complaint and therefore his claims are not exhausted, and
because he has failed to state a plausible claim against UCH.
Third, defendants argue that Continental Airlines
should be dismissed from this suit because, as the result of
its merger with United, it no longer exists. Each of the
foregoing arguments is addressed in turn.
employment discrimination cases, district courts may only
hear charges alleged in the administrative action, or conduct
that is “like or reasonably related to” the
charges described in the administrative allegations.
Rodriguez v. Airborne Express,265 F.3d 890, 896-97
(9th Cir. 2001). “This standard is met where the
allegations in the civil suit are within the scope of the
administrative investigation which can reasonably be expected
to grow out of the charge of discrimination.”
Id. at 897 (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted). In assessing the relatedness of claims, district