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Rosario v. Starbucks Corp.

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

October 25, 2017



          Honorable Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge.


         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Starbucks Corporation's (“Starbucks” or “Defendant”) Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. # 19. Plaintiff Jonathan Santiago Rosario opposes the Motion. Dkt. # 24. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion.


         The following is taken from Plaintiff's Complaint, which is assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion to dismiss. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007).

         Plaintiff brings this putative class action against Defendant for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(3) (“FCRA”). Dkt. # 1 ¶ 1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the FCRA by taking adverse employment action against him before providing him with a copy of his background report and a summary of his rights as an applicant. Id.

         Defendant Starbucks Corporation is a coffee roaster and retailer based in Seattle, Washington. In March of 2016, Plaintiff applied and interviewed for a barista position at a Starbucks location in Colorado. Dkt. # 1 ¶¶ 10, 11. Applicants for barista positions at Starbucks must first fill out an employment application online. Dkt. # 19. After an applicant is selected, Starbucks makes a conditional offer of employment. Starbucks then orders a background check on the applicant through a third-party background screening service, Accurate Background (“Accurate”). Id.

         At some point between March 29 and April 7, 2016, Starbucks received Plaintiff's background report from Accurate. This report included inaccurate criminal record information that has been attributed to Plaintiff's adoptive brother. Dkt. # 1 ¶ 13. The type of criminal record shown on the report would typically prevent hiring by Starbucks. Dkt. # 19. On or before April 7, 2016, Starbucks removed Plaintiff from hiring consideration based on this background report. Dkt. # 1 ¶ 16. On or about April 20, 2016, Accurate sent Plaintiff a letter on behalf of Starbucks, informing him that his background check did not meet Starbucks requirements and that he could appeal Starbucks' decision. Id. ¶¶ 18, 19. The letter also states that if Plaintiff's appeal was successful, his offer of employment would be reinstituted. Id. On May 17, 2016, Plaintiff called Accurate and disputed the results of his background check. Plaintiff's background report was corrected shortly after. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. Plaintiff's job offer was not reinstituted. Id. ¶ 25.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD A. FRCP 12(b)(1)

         Federal courts are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and may only hear cases authorized by the Constitution or a statutory grant. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction rests upon the party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. Once it is determined that a federal court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court has no choice but to dismiss the suit. Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”).

         A party may bring a factual challenge to subject-matter jurisdiction, and in such cases the court may consider materials beyond the complaint. PW Arms, Inc. v. United States, 186 F.Supp.3d 1137, 1142 (W.D. Wash. 2016) (citing Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., 343 F.3d 1036, 1039 n. 2 (9th Cir. 2003); see also McCarthy v. United States, 850 F.2d 558, 560 (9th Cir. 1988) (“Moreover, when considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) the district court is not restricted to the face of the pleadings, but may review any evidence, such as affidavits and testimony, to resolve factual disputes concerning the existence of jurisdiction.”).

         B. FRCP 12(b)(6)

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim. The rule requires the court to assume the truth of the complaint's factual allegations and credit all reasonable inferences arising from those allegations. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007). A court “need not accept as true conclusory allegations that are contradicted by documents referred to in the complaint.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). 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).

         A 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). A court may also consider ...

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