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White v. Relay Resource

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

July 9, 2019

DEBRA VANESSA WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
RELAY RESOURCES and GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, Defendants.

          ORDER

          John C. Coughenour United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant General Services Administration's (“GSA”) motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 18). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court has previously set forth the underlying facts of this case and will not repeat them here. (See Dkt. No. 40.) Plaintiff alleges nine causes of action against Defendants Relay Resources and GSA, who she claims were her joint employers. (Id. at 11-12.) Plaintiff brings disability discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C § 12101-02; the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAA), 42 U.S.C § 12101-02; and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C §§ 701, 791 (Section 501), and 793 (Section 503). (Id. at 12-17.) Plaintiff also brings claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED); a claim for unpaid wages under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C § 203, and the Unpaid Wages Wage Prohibition Act (Unpaid Wages Act); a breach of contract claim; and a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. (Id. at 17-21.) GSA moves to dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims. (Dkt. No. 18.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Dismiss Legal Standard

         A defendant may move to dismiss an action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A Rule 12(b)(1) challenge to jurisdiction may be facial or factual. Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). A moving party factually attacks the allegations by “disputing the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction.” Id. Once a defendant challenges the alleged facts underlying jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that subject matter does in fact exist. St. Clair v. City of Chico, 880 F.2d 199, 201 (9th Cir. 1989). A federal court is presumed to lack subject matter jurisdiction until a plaintiff establishes otherwise. Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989). If a plaintiff fails to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing a claim under the Rehabilitation Act, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim. Boyd v. U.S. Postal Service, 752 F.2d 410, 414 (9th Cir. 1985).

         A defendant may also move to dismiss a complaint that “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 678. A plaintiff is obligated to provide grounds for his or her entitlement to relief that amount to more than labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007). “[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         B. Plaintiff's Claims

         1. ADA, ADAA, and Wrongful Termination

         Plaintiff alleges that GSA discriminated against her in violation of the ADA and the ADAA. (Dkt. No. 3 at 12-16.) Plaintiff also alleges she was wrongfully discharged because of her disability in violation of public policy. (Id. at 20.) The exclusive remedy for a federal employee claiming disability discrimination is under the Rehabilitation Act. Johnston v. Horne, 875 F.2d 1415, 1418-19 (9th Cir. 1989); see Cornette v. Potter, No. C09-5373-BHS, Dkt. No. 48 at 5 (W.D. Wash. 2009) (dismissing the plaintiff's ADA claim as preempted by the Rehabilitation Act). Plaintiff was a federal employee because she was employed by GSA, which is an agency of the executive branch of the federal government. See 40 U.S.C. § 302. Therefore, Plaintiff's discrimination claims under the ADA and the ADAA, and her wrongful termination claim, are preempted by the Rehabilitation Act. See Cornette, No. C09-5373-BHS, Dkt. No. 48 at 5. GSA's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's ADA, ADAA, and wrongful termination claims is GRANTED. Because GSA cannot be held liable on these facts under these causes of action, the claims are DISMISSED with prejudice.

         2. Section 501

         Plaintiff alleges that GSA discriminated against her on the basis of her disability in violation of Section 501. (Dkt. No. 3 at 16.) Section 501 requires federal employers to develop and implement affirmative action plans for disabled employees, and provides a private cause of action for violations. Johnston, 875 F.2d at 1418. Plaintiffs pursuing a disability discrimination claim under Section 501 must follow the procedures laid out by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C § 2000(e). See Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820, 835 (1976). “Title VII provides the exclusive judicial remedy for claims of discrimination in federal employment.” Id. Title VII requires a plaintiff to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing a lawsuit. Vinieratos v. U.S. Dep't of Air Force through Aldridge, 939 F.2d 762, 768 (9th Cir. 1991).

         To exhaust her administrative remedies, a plaintiff must: (1) file a pre-complaint within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory behavior; (2) file a formal complaint with the agency alleged to have participated in the discrimination; and (3) receive a notice of final agency decision from the agency or an administrative law judge. Vinieratos, 939 F.2d at 768-69. A plaintiff has 90 days after receiving the notice of final agency ...


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