United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON WASHINGTON'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
JUDGMENT ON THE GEO GROUP, INC'S AFFIRMATIVE
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment on the GEO Group Inc.'s
(“GEO”) Affirmative Defenses (Dkt. 183) and
GEO's motion to defer or strike the State's motion
for summary judgment pursuant Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (d) (Dkt. 188).
The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of
and in opposition to the motions and the file herein.
case arises out of GEO's alleged failure to compensate
immigration detainees at the Northwest Detention Center
(“NDC”), a private detention center, in accord
with the Washington Minimum Wage Act (“MWA”).
Dkt. 1. The State now moves for summary judgment dismissal of
GEO's affirmative defenses of laches, unclean hands, and
failure to join necessary parties (the Department of Homeland
Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(collectively “ICE”) and the Washington State
Department of Labor & Industries (“L &
I”)). Dkt. 183. GEO moves for a delay in the motion for
summary judgment's consideration to complete discovery.
Dkt. 188. For the reasons provided below, GEO's motion to
delay consideration of the motion (Dkt. 188) should be
denied, and the State's motion (Dkt. 183) should be
granted. GEO's affirmative defenses of laches, unclean
hands, and failure to join necessary parties, should be
RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
a private corporation that has owned and operated the NWDC, a
1, 575-bed detention facility in Tacoma, Washington, since
2005. Dkt. 156, at 8-9. GEO operates the NWDC based on a
contract with ICE. Dkts. 16-2, and 19. Under this contract,
GEO provides “detention management services including
the facility, detention officers, management personnel,
supervision, manpower, training certifications, licenses . .
. equipment, and supplies” for immigration detainees
awaiting resolution of immigration matters. Dkt. 19, at 49.
GEO is also required by the contract to manage a Voluntary
Work Program (“VWP”). Dkt. 19, at 86. Detainees
who participate in the VWP collect and distribute laundry,
prepare and serve food, clean, paint interior walls, and use
electric sheers to cut hair. Dkt. 184-1, at 8-19. GEO pays
detainees who participate in the VWP at $1 per day. Dkt. 156,
at 10. In accord with the contract with ICE, GEO agreed to
comply with “[a]pplicable federal, state and local
labor laws and codes.” Dkt. 19, at 48.
September 20, 2017, the State filed this case in Pierce
County, Washington Superior Court. Dkt. 1-1. The Complaint
maintains that the GEO-ICE Contract at least allows for, if
not requires, GEO to compensate detainees working in the VWP
commensurate with the State MWA. Id., at
¶¶3.3, 3.4, 5.1-6.6. The State alleges that GEO has
been unjustly enriched by compensating detainees below that
required by state law. Id. In its
“quasi-sovereign interest, ” the State makes a
claim against GEO for unjust enrichment, and seeks: (1) an
order requiring GEO to disgorge its unjust enrichment from
compensating detainees below the minimum wage, (2)
declaratory relief that GEO is an “employer”
subject to the MWA when managing detainee employees, and (3)
injunctive relief for GEO to be enjoined from paying
detainees less than the minimum wage. Id.
Answer, GEO makes a counterclaim for unjust enrichment, seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief, and asserts thirteen
affirmative defenses. Dkt 34.
February 28, 2018, GEO's counterclaim for unjust
enrichment was dismissed. Dkt. 44. Further, State's
motion to strike the affirmative defenses of laches, unclean
hands, failure to join L & I and ICE (all three of which
are the subject of the present motion), and ripeness,
justiciability, and a portion of the offset defense, was
denied without prejudice; no finding was made as to the
affirmative defense of preemption. Id. The remaining
affirmative defenses were stricken. Id.
April 26, 2018, GEO's motion to dismiss for failure to
join ICE was denied. Dkt. 58. The Order found that ICE was
not a necessary or indispensable party to the case.
Id. Complete relief could be accorded to the parties
in the case and ICE did not have a legally protected
interest. Id. GEO's alternative motion, that ICE
be added as a defendant was also denied. Id.
State now moves for summary judgment on the affirmative
defenses of laches, unclean hands, and failure to join ICE
and L & I. Dkt. 183. GEO responds and moves, pursuant to
Rule 56 (d), that the motion for summary judgment should
either be denied, or its consideration deferred until the
close of discovery. Dkt. 188. It argues that even if the
motion is considered now, it should be denied because there
are issues of fact as to the affirmative defense of laches,
unclean hands and the failure to join ICE. Id. In
reply, the State argues that the motion should be considered
now, and that the motion should be granted. Dkt. 193.