United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO
L. ROBART, United States District Judge
the court are three motions: (1) Defendant Jie McKnight's
motion to dismiss (MTD (Dkt. # 11)); (2) Plaintiff Muhammad
Ejaz Sial's motion to remand (MTR (Dkt. # 15)); and (3)
Mr. Sial's motion to voluntarily dismiss his Title VII
employment claims (MTD (Dkt. # 20)). The court has considered
the motions, the parties' submissions in support of and
in opposition to the motions, the relevant portions of the
record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised,
court grants Mr. Sial's motion for voluntary dismissal,
grants his motion to remand, and denies as moot Ms.
McKnight's motion to dismiss for the reasons set forth
case arises from Mr. Sial's contract employment with
Defendant AT&T Services, Inc.
(“AT&T”). (See Compl. (Dkt. # 1) ¶
1.1.) Mr. Sial worked as a contractor for Mobile Integration
Workgroup (“MIW”) from February 2013, through
February 2015. (Id. ¶ 4.3.) MIW placed Mr. Sial
at AT&T where he was Lead Architect. (Id.) Mr.
Sial performed his work at AT&T facilities under Ms.
McKnight's supervision. (Id.)
to Mr. Sial, throughout 2013 and 2014, Ms. McKnight told him
that he was a “top performer” and offered him
permanent employment at AT&T. (Id. ¶ 4.4;
see also Id. ¶ 4.7.) In December 2014, Mr. Sial
requested leave to take care of his infant and wife in
February and March of 2015. (Id. ¶ 4.5.) Ms.
McKnight told Mr. Sial he could work remotely during that
time period. (Id.) Mr. Sial alleges that throughout
December 2014 and January 2015, he worked on “assigned
tasks” while the other members of his team “were
out of the office.” (Id. ¶ 4.6.)
early February 2015, Mr. Sial reminded Ms. McKnight that he
would be working remotely, and Ms. McKnight said that he
“could not work remotely and would, instead, be given
the entire time off.” (Id. ¶ 4.8.) Mr.
Sial then met with Ms. McKnight to “offer to change
his scheduled plans to accommodate [Ms.] McKnight's
wishes.” (Id. ¶ 4.9.) Mr. Sial alleges
that Ms. McKnight “screamed and yelled at [him] during
this conversation, causing [him] emotional distress.”
Sial alleges that despite the fact that no one ever
complained about his performance, MIW terminated him at
AT&T's request on February 20, 2015. (Id.
¶¶ 4.10, 4.12.) After his termination, Mr. Sial
applied for and accepted several other contract jobs at
AT&T's facilities, but each time, he was ultimately
barred from returning to work there. (See Id.
Sial is an Asian man of Pakistani origin. (Id.
¶ 4.2.) He alleges that Ms. McKnight made culturally
insensitive remarks on at least one occasion. (Id.
¶ 4.4.) Mr. Sial alleges that he was treated differently
than his co-workers because he was not allowed to work
remotely as they had done. (Id. ¶ 4.11.) He
further alleges that Defendants “placed a permanent
block on [Mr. Sial's] ability to work for . . . AT&T
or any of its partners because of [Mr. Sial's] status as
a male, Asian, Pakistani who had taken medical leave while
working as a contractor for AT&T.” (Id.
on the foregoing allegations, Mr. Sial brings claims against
AT&T for gender, race, and national original
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.,
and the Washington Law Against Discrimination
(“WLAD”), RCW 49.60, et seq.,
(id. ¶¶ 5.1-5.4); “violation of
public policy” (id. ¶¶ 5.5-5.8);
negligent supervision and retention (id.
¶¶ 5.15-5.18); outrage (id. ¶¶
5.19-5.22); negligent infliction of emotional distress
(id. ¶¶ 5.23-5.25); and breach of contract
(id. ¶¶ 5.26-5.29). Against Ms. McKnight,
Mr. Sial brings claims of intentional interference with
business expectancy (id. ¶¶ 5.9-5.14);
outrage (id. ¶¶ 5.19-5.22); and negligent
infliction of emotional distress (id. ¶¶
March 23, 2018, AT&T removed this case from state court.
(Not. of Rem. (Dkt. # 2).) Ms. McKnight then moved to dismiss
the claims against her for failure to state a claim.
(See MTD (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)).) Three days
after Ms. McKnight filed her motion, Mr. Sial attempted to
voluntarily dismiss his federal Title VII claims.
(See Not. (Dkt. # 14) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(a)(1)(A)(i)).) Based on that purported dismissal of his
only federal claims, he moves to remand the case to state
court. (See MTR.) Because Defendants respond that
Mr. Sial could not voluntarily dismiss the Title VII claims
because AT&T has already answered the complaint
(see MTR Resp. (Dkt. # 18)), Mr. Sial moves to
voluntarily dismiss those claims with prejudice (see
MVD). The court now addresses the parties' motions.
court first addresses voluntary dismissal of the Title VII
claims. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i) states
that a “plaintiff may dismiss an action without a court
order by filing . . . a notice of dismissal before the
opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for
summary judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i).
Otherwise, “an action may be dismissed at the
plaintiff's request only by court order, on terms that
the court considers proper.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2).
Because AT&T answered Mr. Sial's complaint on April
4, 2018-over 20 days before Mr. Sial's notice of
voluntary dismissal-Mr. Sial could not dismiss his Title VII
claims without a ...