United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
Honorable Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to Amend (Dkt. # 38) and Defendant's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. # 23). Plaintiff is
proceeding pro se. Both Motions are opposed. Dkt. ##
28, 40. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS
in part and DENIES in part Plaintiff's Motion
for Leave to Amend (Dkt. # 38), and GRANTS
Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. #
Herman Charles Tellis was hired by Defendant Alaska Airlines,
Inc. as a Maintenance and Engineering Mechanic in 1990. Dkt.
# 1-3. Prior to his resignation, Plaintiff made several
complaints regarding Defendant to the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Id. On
February 8, 2013, Defendant notified Plaintiff that he could
sign a resignation agreement and a settlement and release
agreement in lieu of an involuntary termination. Id.
at ¶ 5.8. Plaintiff signed both agreements. Id.
The settlement agreement contained a general release of
claims and a “No Reemployment” provision. Dkt. #
38. Several days later, Plaintiff revoked the settlement and
release agreement. Dkt. # 1-3 Ex. 1.
November of 2013, the parties negotiated a new settlement
agreement. Dkt. ## 40, 41. Defendant represents that this new
settlement agreement was actually three settlement
agreements. Dkt. # 40. The first is entitled,
“Amendment to Confidential Settlement and Release
Agreement, ” and refers back to the original February
2013 settlement agreement. Dkt. # 41 Ex. 1. The second
settlement agreement was solely an Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (“ADEA”) settlement and release
agreement (“ADEA Agreement”). Dkt. # 41 Ex. 2.
The third settlement agreement is not at issue in this
dispute. Plaintiff revoked the ADEA Agreement on November 12,
2013. Dkt. # 1-3 Ex. 1.
March 31, 2014, Plaintiff filed an EEOC complaint, alleging
that Defendant denied him pay and refused to return his work
tools in retaliation for revoking his settlement agreements.
Dkt. # 1-3 at ¶ 5.10. On May 13, 2014, Plaintiff
executed a new settlement and release agreement with
Defendant that solely covered his ADEA claims. Dkt. # 1-3 Ex.
3. The EEOC then closed its investigation of the March 31,
2014 complaint, citing the May 13, 2014 settlement and
release agreement. Dkt. # 1-3 Ex. 2. Plaintiff filed another
EEOC complaint on September 28, 2015, alleging that “a
waiver from Defendant became effective that violated the
Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (“OWBPA”):
because “consideration was not paid as agreed, ”
the “mandatory 21 days to consider agreement
tolled-out, ” language allowing him a 7-day revocation
period was omitted, and “material changes were made to
the agreement absent [Plaintiff's] acknowledgment.”
Dkt. # 25. The EEOC closed its investigation of this
complaint on November 4, 2015.
filed his original Complaint in King County Superior Court on
May 22, 2017, alleging that Defendant discriminated and
retaliated against him in violation of the ADEA. Dkt. # 1.
Defendant removed this case to the Western District of
Washington shortly after. Id. On December 5, 2017,
Plaintiff attempted to file a First Amended Complaint, which
added a state law unlawful restraint of trade claim. Dkt. #
20. The Court struck Plaintiff's filing for failure to
comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt. # 22.
On December 8, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings. Dkt. # 23. Plaintiff then moved for leave to
file a Second Amended Complaint, again to add an unlawful
restraint of trade claim. Dkt. # 26. Defendant opposed
Plaintiff's motion, and Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew it
on January 10, 2018. Dkt. # 34.
January 16, 2018, Plaintiff applied for a Supervisor Line
Maintenance position with Defendant. Dkt. # 38 Ex. 1. On
January 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed another EEOC complaint,
alleging age discrimination because he had “heard
nothing favorable from Alaska Airlines with regard to the
position.” Id. The EEOC closed its
investigation into Plaintiff's complaint and issued a
Notice of Right to Sue to Plaintiff on February 8, 2018. Dkt.
# 39. Plaintiff then filed a Motion to Amend one day later.
Dkt. # 38. The proposed Third Amended Complaint again adds an
unlawful restraint of trade claim and adds an additional ADEA
retaliation claim. Dkt. # 38 Ex. 1.
Motion to Amend
to pleadings is governed by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(a). Rule 15(a) “provides that a
party's right to amend as a matter of course terminates
21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days
after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or
(f), whichever is earlier.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(1)(B). “In all other cases, a party may amend its
pleading only with the opposing party's written consent
or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave
when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
15(a)(2). “In exercising this discretion, a court
must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15
to facilitate a decision on the merits, rather than on the
pleadings or technicalities.” Roth v. Garcia
Marquez, 942 F.2d 617, 628 (9th Cir. 1991); United
States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981).
Further, the policy of favoring amendments to pleadings
should be applied with “extreme liberality.”
DCD Programs, Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186
(9th Cir. 1987).
this extremely liberal standard, the Court may deny leave to
amend after considering “the presence of any of four
factors: bad faith, undue delay, prejudice to the opposing
party, and/or futility.” Owens v. Kaiser Foundation
Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 712 (9th Cir. 2001).
But “[n]ot all of the factors merit equal weight ... it
is the consideration of prejudice to the opposing party that
carries the greatest weight.” Eminence Capital, LLC
v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003).
“Absent prejudice, or a strong showing of any of the
remaining [ ] factors, there exists a presumption under Rule
15(a) in favor of granting leave to amend.”
Id. The party opposing amendment bears the heavy
burden of overcoming this presumption. DCD Programs, Ltd.
v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 187 (9th Cir. 1987).
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
on the pleadings is proper when the moving party clearly
establishes on the face of the pleadings that no material
issue of fact remains to be resolved and that it is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law.” Hal Roach Studios,
Inc. v. Richard Feiner and Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542,
1550 (9th Cir. 1990). The standard applied on a Rule 12(c)
motion is essentially the same as that applied on a Rule
12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim: “the
allegations of the non-moving party must be accepted as true,
while the allegations of the moving party which have been
denied are assumed to be false.” Id. The Court
is not required to accept as true legal conclusions or
formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action
unsupported by alleged facts. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). When considering a motion for judgment