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Rahim v. Providence Health and Services

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

May 1, 2014

AZRA RAHIM, Plaintiff,


RICHARD A. JONES, District Judge.


This matter comes before the court on Defendant's motion to dismiss. No one has requested oral argument and the court finds oral argument unnecessary. For the reasons stated below, the court DENIES the motion to dismiss. Dkt. # 15. The court directs the parties to submit a joint statement in accordance with this order no later than May 14, 2014.


Plaintiff Azra Rahim contends that Defendant Providence Health and Services ("Providence") discriminated against her on the basis of her race, national origin, and gender when it terminated her from the family practice medical residency program at its Olympia hospital. The motion before the court challenges only her claims invoking Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and only on the basis that she neither timely exhausted her remedies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") nor timely filed suit in this court after receiving a so-called "right-to-sue letter" from the EEOC.

For purposes of this motion, no one disputes that Providence terminated Dr. Rahim on May 29, 2012. Her complaint contains two allegations crucial to the motion before the court.

1) On March 24, 2013, Dr. Rahim initiated, with the EEOC and the Washington Human Rights Commission, in the form of completing an Intake Questionnaire, a complaint for discrimination on the basis of race, sex and national origin against Providence... pursuant to Title VII....

2) On May 23, 201[3], [1] Dr. Rahim received from the EEOC a Notice of Right to Sue.

Compl. ¶¶ 152-53.

Those allegations matter for two reasons. First, Title VII conditions a plaintiff's right to sue on timely filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. A plaintiff must make her charge within 180 days of the discriminatory conduct, unless she files her charge with a "State or local agency with authority to grant or seek relief from such practice, " in which case she must file her EEOC charge within the earlier of 300 days of the discriminatory conduct or 30 days after the termination of the state or local agency's investigation." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). Second, assuming that the EEOC itself does not bring the plaintiff's claim to a resolution, the plaintiff must sue within 90 days from the EEOC's notice of its decision on the charge. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1).

In its motion to dismiss, Providence asserts that Dr. Rahim's claims founder on two grounds. First, Providence claims that she did not file a charge of discrimination with either the EEOC or the Washington Human Rights Commission until March 27, 2013, which is 302 days after Providence terminated her. That neither meets the 180-day deadline that Providence insists applies in this case, nor the 300-day deadline that Dr. Rahim relies upon. Second, Providence claims that more than 90 days passed between the EEOC's notice of her right to sue and August 21, 2013, which is the day she filed this suit. Providence also asks the court to sanction Dr. Rahim for pursuing her Title VII claims.


Providence invokes Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) in support of its motion to dismiss.[2] Applying that Rule, the court must assume the truth of the complaint's factual allegations and credit all reasonable inferences arising from its allegations. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007). The plaintiff must point to factual allegations that "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 568 (2007). If the plaintiff succeeds, the complaint avoids dismissal if there is "any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint" that would entitle the plaintiff to relief. Id. at 563; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) ("When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief."). The court typically cannot consider evidence beyond the four corners of the complaint, although it may rely on a document to which the complaint refers if the document is central to the party's claims and its authenticity is not in question. Marder v. Lopez, 450 F.3d 445, 448 (9th Cir. 2006). The court may also ...

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