United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON DEFENDANT THE GEO GROUP INC.'S MOTION
FOR ORDER OF DISMISSAL BASED ON PLAINTIFF'S FAILURE TO
JOIN REQUIRED GOVERNMENT PARTIES
J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant The GEO Group
Inc.'s Motion for Order of Dismissal Based on
Plaintiff's Failure to Join Required Government Parties.
Dkt. 51. The Court has reviewed the motion, all documents
filed in support and opposition, and the remainder of the
file herein, and considered oral argument on April 24, 2018.
seeks dismissal for Plaintiff Chao Chen's failure to join
the Department of Homeland Security and an agency thereof,
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (collectively,
“ICE”). See Dkt. 51 at FN 1. As
discussed below, dismissal should be denied because ICE is
neither a necessary nor an indispensable party. The case can
proceed in equity and good conscience.
moves to dismiss for failure to join under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(7) following the initial pleadings, but before the
completion of discovery. Failure to join may be raised at any
stage. McCowen v. Jamieson, 724 F.2d 1421, 1424
(9th Cir. 1984); CP Nat. Corp. v. Bonneville
Power Admin., 928 F.2d 905, 911-12 (9th Cir.
1991). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(2). Facts recited
are derived either from the Complaint or from a contract
incorporated by the Complaint and relied upon by the parties.
Dkts. 1, 19, 45-3.
a private corporation that has owned and operated the
Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), a 1, 500 bed detention
facility, since 2005. Dkt. 1 at ¶¶4.1, 4.2. GEO
operates the NWDC based on a contract with ICE (“the
GEO-ICE Contract”). Dkts. 19, 45-3. GEO takes care of
immigration detainees awaiting resolution of immigration
matters and relies on detainees for a wide range of services
under the Voluntary Work Program (VWP) required by the
contract. Id. at ¶¶4.5. GEO compensates
detainees at $1 per day. Id. at ¶4.7.
initiated this action under the theory that the GEO-ICE
Contract at least allows for, if not requires, GEO to
compensate detainees working in the VWP at least the minimum
wage required by with the State Minimum Wage Act (MWA). Dkt.
1 at ¶¶4.10-4.12. In support of its theory,
Plaintiff primarily relies on three terms of the GEO-Ice
Contract: (1) GEO must compensate detainees participating in
the VWP “at least $1 per day” under the
“ICE/DHS Performance Base [sic] [National]
Detention Standards” (PBNDS), expressly incorporated by
the contract; (2) GEO must operate according to the
“most current . . . constraints, ” including
“applicable federal, state and local labor laws and
codes”; and (3) where the contract conflicts with
“all applicable federal state and local laws and
standards . . . the most stringent shall apply.” Dkt.
19 at 46-48, 56; Dkt. 45-3 at 8.
rejects Plaintiff's theory and maintains that the GEO-ICE
Contract prohibits GEO from acting as an ‘employer'
to detainees working in the VWP. In support of its theory,
Defendant relies on the history, custom, and practice of the
VWP and on an itemized “services/supplies”
description for the “Detainee Volunteer Wages for the
Volunteer Program” found in the GEO-ICE Contract. Dkt.
19 at 9. The description specifies that
“[r]eimbursement for this line item will be at the
actual cost of $1.00 per day per detainee” and that the
“Contractor [GEO] shall not exceed the amount shown
without prior approval” by ICE. Id. Defendant
also relies on provisions of the contract describing
background and clearance procedures and practices for hiring
“employees, ” such as use of E-Verify and the
prohibition of employing “illegal or undocumented
aliens.” Id. at 72-75. GEO argues that paying
MWA rates to detainees working in the VWP would violate the
by both parties are GEO-ICE Contract terms allowing GEO to
request contract pricing modifications and obliging GEO to
indemnify ICE against all claims arising out of GEO's
operation of the NWDC. Dkt. 19 at 56, 105, 106, 367.
Complaint requests the following relief: class certification,
damages for lost wages, costs, fees, and interest. Dkt. 1 at
5. GEO is the sole defendant named. Id. at
instant motion, Defendant seeks dismissal for Plaintiff's
failure to join ICE.
Joinder under Rule 19.
is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 19, a rule that imposes a
1. Is the absent party “necessary” under Rule
2. If so, is it feasible to order joinder of the absent
3. If joinder is not feasible, is the party
“indispensable” under Rule 19(b) such that in
“equity and good conscience” the suit can proceed
short of dismissal?
Salt River Project Agr. Imp. and Power Dist. v. Lee,
672 F.3d 1176, 1179 (9th Cir. 2012). Rule 19
analysis is “a practical, fact-specific one, designed
to avoid the harsh results of rigid application.”
Dawavendewa v. Salt River Project Agr. Imp. ...