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Keefe v. Crowne Plaza Hotel Seattle

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

April 3, 2017

DESIREE KEEFE, Plaintiff,
v.
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL SEATTLE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Desiree Keefe's motion to remand (Dkt. No. 16), Plaintiff's motion to continue (Dkt. No. 18), and Defendants' partial motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 15). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to continue, DENIES Plaintiff's motion to remand, and GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' partial motion to dismiss for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In October 2009, Defendant Today's Hotel Seattle Corporation d/b/a Crowne Plaza Hotel Seattle hired Plaintiff as a bartender. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at ¶ 3.2.) In December 2009, Plaintiff began dating her coworker, Defendant Colin Sage Hammond.[1] (Id. at ¶ 3.4.) Plaintiff ended the relationship in June 2010, and alleges Mr. Hammond developed a hostile attitude towards her at work after their breakup. (Id. at ¶¶ 3.4-3.6.)

         On December 8, 2013, Plaintiff and Mr. Hammond went to a company holiday party. (Id. at ¶ 3.7.) Plaintiff and a few coworkers, including Mr. Hammond, went back to her home after the party. (Id. at ¶ 3.10.) Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Hammond raped and sexually assaulted her after most of the other coworkers had gone home. (Id. at ¶¶ 3.13-3.16.)

         On December 19, 2013, Plaintiff received a Sexual Assault Protection Order. (Id. at ¶ 3.21.) The same day, Plaintiff notified Defendant Al Rosales, the Human Resources Manager, and Defendant Cristy Smith, the General Manager, about her Protective Order. (Id. at ¶ 3.22.) Defendants told Plaintiff “not to worry about negative consequences to her employment as a result of the sexual assault or the order. She was also assured that the fact of the assault would remain as confidential as possible, and that her schedule would be accommodated as much as possible.” (Id. at ¶ 3.22.) Plaintiff was also assured that if Mr. Hammond was “scheduled to work on the same day she was, that he would depart the hotel a minimum o[f] one hour before her shift was scheduled to begin.” (Id. at ¶ 3.25.)

         In January 2014, Plaintiff was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the sexual assault, and notified her employer that she would be taking a paid leave of absence. (Id. at ¶ 3.31, 3.32.) On March 14, 2014, Plaintiff “felt compelled to resign” from her position after she received a “number of requests to return to [work] or else lose her position.” (Id. at ¶ 3.37.)

         On December 30, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint in King County Superior Court. (Dkt. No. 1-2.) She alleged (1) assault, (2) battery, (3) negligent infliction of emotional distress, (4) wrongful discharge, (5) negligent hiring and retention, and (6) wage and hour violations. (Id. at ¶¶ 5.2-5.7.) Claims 1, 2, and 3 seem to be alleged against all Defendants. (See id.) Claims 4, 5, and 6 are alleged against the corporate Defendants, InterContinental Hotel Group Resources, Interstate Hotels, and Today's Hotel Seattle Corporation d/b/a Crowne Plaza Hotel Seattle. (Dkt. No. 20 at 4.)

         On February 6, 2017, the served defendants removed the case to this Court, alleging diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 1.) Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims against the individual Defendants and claims 1-4 against the corporate Defendants. (Dkt. No. 15.) Plaintiff filed a motion to remand based on a lack of diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 16.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Continue (Dkt. No. 18)

         Plaintiff filed a motion to continue ruling on Defendants' motion to dismiss until after the motion to remand has been decided (Dkt. No. 18). The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to the extent it requests the Court to consider the motion to remand first. The Court must decide if it has subject matter jurisdiction over this case before it can potentially dismiss claims. However, the Court will decide both motions in this Order because the issues are intertwined and both motions are ripe for consideration.

         B. Motion to Remand (Dkt. No. 16)

         A party to a civil action brought in state court may remove that action to federal court if the district court would have had original jurisdiction at the time of both commencement of the action and removal. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Once removed, the case can be remanded to state court for either lack of subject matter jurisdiction or defects in the removal procedure. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1447(c). Where federal jurisdiction is conferred by diversity, the removing party bears the ...


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