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Sulzberg v. Happiest Minds Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 3, 2019

TAMI SULZBERG, Plaintiff,
v.
HAPPIEST MINDS TECHNOLOGIES PVT. LTD., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR STRIKE AND DENYING REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE RE: DKT. NO. 8

          SUSAN VAN KEULEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         In this putative class action, Plaintiff Tami Sulzberg alleges that Defendant Happiest Minds Technologies engaged in employment discrimination on the basis of race and national origin against individuals who are not South Asian and who are not of Indian national origin. See Dkt. 1 (Complaint) at ¶¶ 1, 29. Before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss and/or strike, which also includes a request for judicial notice. Dkt. 8, 8-3. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. Dkt. 7, 15. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court deems this motion suitable for determination without oral argument. Based on a review of the parties' submissions, the case file, and relevant law, the Court DENIES the motion to dismiss, motion to strike, and request for judicial notice for the reasons discussed below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Defendant Happiest Minds provides information technology and consulting services. Dkt. 1 (Complaint) at ¶ 1. Defendant is headquartered in India and has some employees in the United States. Id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff Tami Sulzberg, who is a Caucasian woman born in the United States, worked for Defendant in in the United States a sales role from January 17, 2018 until May 19, 2018. Id. at ¶¶ 21, 26. Plaintiff contends that her termination was the result of Defendant's pattern or practice of discriminating against non-South Asian and non-Indian employees. Id. at ¶ 27.

         Plaintiff brings this case individually and on behalf of the putative class of “[a]ll individuals who are not of South Asian race and Indian national origin who applied for positions with (or within) Happiest Minds in the U.S. and who were not hired and/or who Happiest Minds involuntarily terminated.” Id. at ¶¶ 2, 29. Plaintiff asserts claims under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Id. at ¶¶ 38-48.

         Defendant seeks to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Dkt. 8. Defendant also seeks to strike the class action claims pursuant to Rule 12(f). Id.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Rule 12(b)(6)

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a district court must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In ruling on a motion to dismiss, courts may consider only “the complaint, materials incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of which the court may take judicial notice.” Metzler Inv. GmbH v. Corinthian Colls., Inc., 540 F.3d 1049, 1061 (9th Cir. 2008). In deciding whether the plaintiff has stated a claim, the court must assume the plaintiff's allegations are true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Usher v. City of L.A., 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987). However, the court is not required to accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008).

         To survive a 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). This “facial plausibility” standard requires the plaintiff to allege facts that add up to “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).

         Leave to amend must be granted unless it is clear that the complaint's deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Lucas v. Dep't. of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972) (pro se complaint should not be dismissed unless the court finds it “beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief”) (quotation marks and citations omitted).

         B. Rule 12(f)

         Rule 12(f) enables a court to strike from a pleading “any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” The function of a Rule 12(f) motion is “to avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious issues by dispensing with those issues prior to trial.” Whittlestone, Inc. v. Handi-Craft Co., 618 F.3d 970, 973 (9th Cir. 2010).

         III. ...


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