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Sivas v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 3, 2019

DR. HAROLD C. SIVAS, Plaintiff,



         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Dr. Harold C. Sivas filed this action on March 25, 2019 in Fresno County Superior Court. ECF No. 1-1 (“Complaint”). On June 12, 2019, this Court granted without prejudice Defendants' unopposed motion to dismiss the Complaint. ECF No. 9. Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on July 1, 2019. ECF No. 10. Defendant Luxottica Retail North America, Inc. (“Luxottica”) operates Target Optical retail stores in space leased from Target. See id. ¶ 2. Dr. Sivas, who is an optometrist, subleases space from Luxottica in two Target locations: Clovis, California and Fresno, California. Id. ¶¶ 1-2, 10-17. Defendants Ashley Jones and Liz Torres work as the Manager and District Manager, respectively, of Target Optical in Clovis. Id. ¶¶ 3-4. Dr. Sivas alleges that he is sixty-five years' old and has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Id. ¶ 8.

         Plaintiff complains that he was subjected to “adverse employment actions, ” including the direction by Defendants of Plaintiff's business to other optometrists, see id. ¶ 49, because of his Parkinson's disease, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. Id. ¶¶ 62-74. Plaintiff also brings a cause of action for elder abuse under California Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 15600 et seq. based on the allegation that Defendants “utilized undue influence in depriving [Plaintiff] of substantial income by directing substantial business away from Dr. Sivas and toward other employees working at LUXOTTICA's locations.” Id. ¶ 79. He also brings a state law cause of action for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage based on the same conduct. Id. ¶¶ 82-90.

         After Plaintiff filed the FAC, Defendants renewed their motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief. ECF No. 11. Defendants contend that the ADA claim should be dismissed because Plaintiff concedes Luxottica is not his employer; that the elder abuse claim fails to allege the required element of “financial abuse” as that term is defined by California Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610.30; and that the intentional interference claim fails to allege that Plaintiff's relationship with Luxottica was disrupted. See generally id.

         Having reviewed the motion in light of the entire record, the Court deems the matter suitable for disposition on the papers without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED WITH PREJUDICE AND WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Legal Standard

         1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is a challenge to the sufficiency of the allegations set forth in the complaint. Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper where there is either a “lack of a cognizable legal theory” or “the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balisteri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court generally accepts as true the allegations in the complaint, construes the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolves all doubts in the pleader's favor. Lazy Y. Ranch LTD v. Behrens, 546 F.3d 580, 588 (9th Cir. 2008).

         To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must 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 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations omitted). Thus, “bare assertions . . . amount[ing] to nothing more than a ‘formulaic recitation of the elements' . . . are not entitled to be assumed true.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681. “[T]o be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint . . . must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). In practice, “a complaint . . . must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 562.

         To the extent that the pleadings can be cured by the allegation of additional facts, a plaintiff should be afforded leave to amend. Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. Northern Cal. Collection Serv., Inc., 911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990) (citations omitted). A court need not permit an attempt to amend if “it is clear the complaint could not be saved by amendment.” Livid Holding Ltd. v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 416 F.3d 940, 946 (9th Cir. 2005).

         B. Sufficiency of Plaintiff's Claims under Rule 12(b)(6)

         1. ...

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