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Borreggine v. Prokarma, Inc.

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

June 29, 2018

PROKARMA, INC., et al., Defendants.




         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. #18. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed in their entirety, with prejudice, because the claims were released in a severance agreement, Plaintiff failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies, and Plaintiff's claims are time-barred. Id. Plaintiff opposes the motion, and appears to ask that his time for filing and/or failure to exhaust be tolled and/or excused. Dkt. #21. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's claims will be dismissed.


         Plaintiff filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”), along with his proposed Complaint, on March 2, 2018. Dkt. #1. After Plaintiff corrected a deficiency with that motion, the Court granted IFP status, and the Court filed his Complaint. Dkt. #5. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on March 29, 2018. Dkt. #8.

         In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he began working as an employee for ProKarma in October 2015. See Dkt. #8 at 8. He was hired as a “W2 contractor/employee status at the offices of T-Mobile in Bellevue, WA. Plaintiff was hired as a senior lead software architect to ‘mentor' and ‘train' the junior members of the team, all from ‘India'. Plaintiff was the only U.S. Citizen along with Levi Ross. . . .” Id. at 6. Plaintiff's alleged national origin is American and his race is white. Id. at 7. He asserts that he is “Type II Diabetic” and is “over 40 years old.” Id. at 5-6.

         Plaintiff further alleges that he suffered discriminatory employment termination on the basis of his age, race and national origin. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that, while he worked as a contractor at the offices of T-Mobile, the members of his team, all of whom he alleges were Indian, refused to follow his direction based on the fact that he was a white American. Dkt. #8 at 5. He alleges that he asked for reasonable accommodation based on his stressful and hostile work environment, but that he was not provided any accommodation unless or until he provided a doctor's note, which he was unable to provide. Id. at 5-6. He alleges that no one at ProKarma or T-Mobile stopped the unlawful discrimination against him because he was a non-Indian, and, as a result, he was forced to resign from employment with ProKarma. Id. at 6-8. His employment ended two months after he began, in December 2015. Id.

         Following his resignation, Plaintiff signed a Confidential Severance Agreement and General Release with ProKarma on or about January 12, 2016. Dkt. #18-1.

         On July 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Dkt. #19, Exhibit A to Ex. 1. The charge alleged discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of race, color and national origin in violation of Title VII. Id. The EEOC closed Plaintiff's charge on December 4, 2017, stating that “Charging Party signed a severance agreement with a release and waiver.” Dkt. #8-15. The instant lawsuit followed.


         A. Legal Standards

         1. Motions for Lack of Jurisdiction under 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, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (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, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (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 ...

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