United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NO. 10
JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Suvarna Chintala, proceeding pro se, alleges that her
employer Defendant CST Brands, LLC racially discriminated
against her. Ms. Chintala originally filed her
complaint in the Superior Court of California for the County
of Contra Costa. (Dkt. No. 1-4.) Defendant removed the action
based on diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 1.) Now pending
before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss. Having
carefully reviewed the parties' briefing, the Court
concludes oral argument is unnecessary, see Civ.
L.R. 7-1(b), and GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss
with leave to amend.
Chintala experienced race, color, and national origin
discrimination at work. (Dkt. No. 1-4 at 3.) Ms. Chintala is
originally from India. (Id. at 6.) She was hired by
Defendant in December 2007 and works as a customer service
representative. (Id.) In November 2014, Ms. Chintala
was demoted from full-time to part-time by her manager
Barbra. (Id.) Ms. Chintala's hours dropped below
30 hours per week. (Id.) Defendant did not provide
any reasons for moving Ms. Chintala to part-time.
employees receive vacation and medical benefits.
(Id. at 3.) A white woman named “Sara”
was hired just one year ago for the same position, a customer
service representative, and “got everything” -
all benefits including vacation every year. (Id. at
3, 7.) Another white woman named “Sharyn” was
hired as a cashier and customer service representative and
receives full benefits including vacation every year.
(Id. at 7.)
Chintala has been with the company for eight and a half years
yet does not receive “anything.” (Id. at
3.) In 2014, Ms. Chintala received sick time and benefits.
(Id. at 10.) Defendant paid her $2000 for dental,
$1107.75 for vacation, and $221.55 for sick time.
(Id.) In October 2014, Ms. Chintala received a
letter from “corporate” stating that she was not
eligible for benefits in 2015 because she “did not work
an average of 30 hours or more per week.” (Id.
at 14.) Ms. Chintala's average hours per week from
October 2013 to October 2014 was 29.76 hours. (Id.)
Accordingly, Defendant determined she was not a full-time
Chintala informed her manager who did not say anything.
(Id. at 10.) When Ms. Chintala checked her
“paysheet” she discovered she was demoted to
part-time. (Id.) Over the years when Defendant was
short-staffed Defendant made Ms. Chintala work more hours.
(Id. at 11) Now that Defendant has hired other
people Defendant has cut down Ms. Chintala's work hours.
demoting her Ms. Chintala's manager is very careful to
make sure that Ms. Chintala works less than 30 hours per
week. (Id.) Ms. Chintala's manager only gives
Ms. Chintala 28.5 hours or 29.5 hours in order to prevent Ms.
Chintala from receiving benefits. (Id.) Further,
when “big shots” such as the CEO or other
corporate officers come to visit the store, Ms.
Chintala's manager takes Ms. Chintala off the work
schedule. (Id. at 12.) Ms. Chintala was very upset
her manager did this to her and Ms. Chintala has suffered a
lot mentally. (Id.) The other cashiers asked Ms.
Chintala why she is not in the store when the big shots
visit. This has made Ms. Chintala sad all of these years.
(Id.) Defendant is indirectly forcing Ms. Chintala
to leave her job. (Id. at 11.)
12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of a complaint as
failing to allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A facial
plausibility standard is not a “probability
requirement” but mandates “more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). On a
12(b)(6) motion, the court “accept[s] factual
allegations in the complaint as true and construe[s] the
pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Mar. Ins.
Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). Courts may
base dismissal “on either lack of a cognizable legal
theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a
cognizable legal theory.” Johnson v. Riverside
Healthcare Sys., 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief ... [is] a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
hold pro se pleadings to a more lenient standard. Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Post-Iqbal courts must still liberally construe pro
se filings because “[w]hile the standard is higher, our
obligation remains, where the petitioner is pro se,
particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings
liberally and to afford the petitioner the benefit of any
doubt.” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342
(9th Cir. 2010) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
Nevertheless, the Court may not “supply essential
elements of the claim that were not initially pled.”
Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Alaska, 673
F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).
deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court will generally only
consider “allegations contained in the pleadings,
exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters properly
subject to judicial notice.” Swartz v. KPMG
LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 763 (9th Cir. 2007). A plaintiff
cannot avoid dismissal by alleging new facts in an opposition
to a motion to dismiss. Schneider v. Cal. Dep't of
Corrs., 151 F.3d 1194, 1197 n. 1 (9th Cir. 1998)
(finding that “‘new' allegations contained in
the [plaintiff]'s opposition motion ... are irrelevant
for Rule 12(b)(6) purposes.”). If a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion is granted, the “court should grant leave to
amend even if no request to amend the pleadings 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, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
argues Ms. Chintala's complaint fails to meet basic
pleading requirements. Ms. Chintala counters her EEOC
complaint against Defendant sufficiently identifies her
employment discrimination claim and adds a number of facts
regarding her experience in Defendant's employ. Ms.