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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. PC Iron, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

August 31, 2017

U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
PC IRON, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO INTERVENE [DOC. NO. 12]

          CATHY ANN BENCIVENGO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff-Intervenor Elsa Perez's (“Ms. Perez”) motion for leave to intervene. [Doc. No. 12.] The Court finds the matter suitable for determination on the papers submitted in accordance with Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1) and therefore denies Defendant's request for oral argument [Doc. No. 17]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion.

         I. Background

         On September 21, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC” or the “Commission”), in its capacity as the federal agency charged with the interpretation, administration, and enforcement of federal statutes banning employment discrimination, filed a complaint alleging Defendant engaged in unlawful employment practices in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and § 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. [Doc. No. 1.] In the complaint, Ms. Perez is identified as the Charging Party whose allegations provide the basis of the EEOC's action. [Id.]

         On December 15, 2016, the EEOC filed an amended complaint alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991(“Title VII”) to correct Defendant's alleged unlawful employment practices on the basis of sex and to provide appropriate relief to Charging Party Perez. [Doc. No. 5.]

         On August 1, 2017 Ms. Perez filed her motion seeking to intervene in this action as of right because she has a significant interest in the underlying action. [Doc. No. 12.] On August 3, 2017, the EEOC filed a notice of non-opposition. [Doc. No. 13.] Defendant filed its response in opposition [Doc. No. 14] and Ms. Perez filed her reply [Doc. No. 16]. On August 30, 2017, Defendant filed a request for oral argument on the motion for leave to intervene. [Doc. No. 17.] On the same day, Ms. Perez filed a response to the request for oral argument. [Doc. No. 18.]

         II. Discussion

         Ms. Perez seeks to intervene in this action as of right claiming she has a significant interest in the underlying action. [Doc. No. 12.] Further, Ms. Perez asserts that the substantial overlap in the evidence needed to prove both the Title VII and her individual state law claims provides additional grounds for the Court to invoke its supplemental jurisdiction. [Id. at 2.] Ms. Perez wishes to pursue her remedies for compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief under Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) claims. Defendant opposes the intervention on the grounds that it is untimely, would cause it substantial prejudice and Ms. Perez's rights are adequately represented by the EEOC. [Doc. No. 14.] Defendant's response in opposition focuses solely on Ms. Perez's intervention as of right argument and is silent regarding her supplemental jurisdiction request.

         A. Intervention as of Right

         Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides “(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene who: (1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by federal statute. . . .” Title VII, as amended, expressly provides that the person aggrieved by a violation of Title VII shall have the right to intervene in a civil action brought by the EEOC. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) (“The person or persons aggrieved shall have the right to intervene in a civil action brought by the Commission or the Attorney General in a case involving a government, governmental agency, or political subdivision.”) See also EEOC v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 675 F.2d 164, 165 (9th Cir. 1982); EEOC v. ABM Industries, Inc., 249 FRD 588, 590 (E.D. Cal. 2008).

         Here, the parties do not dispute that Ms. Perez is an aggrieved person because she filed the charge upon which the EEOC's lawsuit is based. See EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 534 U.S. 279, 291 (2002) (“If . . . the EEOC files suit on its own, the employee . . . may intervene in the EEOC's suit.”). Thus, Ms. Perez has the right to intervene.

         In determining whether the application to intervene has been timely requested a court should broadly construe the requirements of Rule 24 in favor of the moving party. Sw. Center for Biological Diversity v. Berg, 268 F.3d 810, 818 (9th Cir. 2001). Factors to consider include: (1) the stage of the proceedings; (2) the reason for any delay in moving to intervene; and (3) whether the parties would be prejudiced. Nw. Forest Resource Council v. Glickman, 82 F.3d 825, 836-37 (9th Cir. 1996). “[T]he timeliness requirement for intervention as of right should be treated more leniently than for permissive intervention because of the likelihood of harm.” U.S. v. State of Or., 745 F.2d 550 (9th Cir. 1984).

         The procedural posture of this case does not weigh against granting the application to intervene. It is two months prior to the close of fact discovery and over ten months to the July 20, 2018 trial date. [See Doc. No. 11.]

         As to the second factor, timeliness, the parties dispute whether or not the motion to intervene has been brought in a timely manner. Defendant asserts that Ms. Perez has not provided adequate justification for her delay, has been aware of this action since she filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on August 24, 2012, has been actively involved in this case and was aware of the deadline to intervene, and the delay in moving to intervene was caused by her own lack of diligence. The Court does not agree with Defendant's position. Although a year has elapsed since the filing of this complaint, the Court does not find this a dispositive factor in determining the timeliness of the motion. See U.S. v. Oregon, 745 F.2d 550, 552 (9th Cir. 1984) (“Mere lapse of time is not determinative”). The unavoidable ...


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