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Butler v. G4S Secure Solutions (USA), Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

November 14, 2019

JOSHUA C. BUTLER, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS (USA), INC., Defendant.

          ORDER RESOLVING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE

          Rosanna Malouf Peterson United States District Judge.

         BEFORE THE COURT is Defendant G4S's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, ECF No. 12. In his Response to Defendant's Motion, at ECF No. 23, Plaintiff Joshua Butler made a Motion to Strike pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), which the Court now addresses. The Court has considered the record, the briefing, the relevant legal precedent, and is fully informed.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Joshua Butler began working for Defendant G4S Secure Solutions (“G4S”) in February of 2015 as a security officer. ECF No. 1 at 2. G4S contracts with businesses to provide security services. See id. While a G4S employee, Mr. Butler worked at McCain Foods USA, Inc. (“McCain”), a company that contracted with G4S. Id. Until about August of 2016, Mr. Butler's site supervisor at McCain was Josh Charmley, a G4S employee. Id. at 3. However, when Mr. Charmley was absent, Mr. Butler would be required to interact directly with G4S's area supervisor, Richard Harden. See id. at 2-3. From about June 2016 through July 2017, Mr. Butler frequently worked 60 hours or more per week at McCain because of a G4S employee shortage. Id. at 3.

         In spring of 2016, when Mr. Charmley was on vacation, Mr. Butler worked directly with Mr. Harden. Id. When they first met in person, Mr. Harden referred to Mr. Butler as “boy” several times. Id. Mr. Butler is an African American man, and Mr. Harden is Caucasian. Id. at 2-3. Additionally, during Mr. Charmley's absence that spring, Mr. Butler was responsible for creating a schedule for the McCain G4S security employees. Id. at 3. After Mr. Butler created the schedule, Mr. Harden saw it and told Mr. Butler, “I didn't think you people were even capable of putting together something like that. You coons impress me every day.” Id. Mr. Butler reported these comments to Mr. Charmley when he returned from vacation. Id.

         Later that year, when Mr. Charmley was absent on medical leave, Mr. Harden mumbled in Mr. Butler's presence that Mr. Butler was “creating too much work for him, ” and said something like, “Fuck, man, you nigger.” Id. Again, Mr. Butler reported this comment to Mr. Charmley. Id.

         In August of 2016, Mr. Charmley prepared to leave his position at ¶ 4S, and the company offered the position to Mr. Butler. Id. Mr. Harden stated to another G4S employee that he did not like Mr. Butler's “kind” and that he did not believe he was “fit for the position.” Id. at 4. He then told the employee that he believed Mr. Butler was not a good fit for the job due to his race. Id. Additionally, Mr. Harden called Mr. Charmley and said that he didn't want “that nigger running shit.” Id. Mr. Charmley informed Mr. Butler about this conversation. Id. According to Mr. Butler, learning that Mr. Harden did not want him to be a supervisor because of his race motivated him to accept the Site Supervisor position. Id.

         When Mr. Butler began performing his job as Site Supervisor in November of 2016, Mr. Harden continued to use racial slurs, including “coon” and “nigger.” Id. at 5. In September 2017, Mr. Butler emailed Mr. Harden's supervisor about the comments, but Mr. Harden's supervisor never responded. Id.

         On or about October 1, 2017, after learning of Mr. Butler's complaint to his supervisor, Mr. Harden called Mr. Butler at approximately 12:15 a.m. Id. at 5. During the call, Mr. Harden asked, “What the fuck is your problem, nigger?” Id. Mr. Harden referred to Mr. Butler as “coon, ” “nigger, ” “boy, ” and “spook” during the conversation. Id. Again, Mr. Butler reported this behavior to Mr. Harden's supervisor via email. Id. at 6. Later, when Mr. Butler attempted to follow up in a telephone conversation with Mr. Harden's supervisor, the supervisor stated that he had not received Mr. Butler's email complaint, and he ended the call before Mr. Butler could explain his complaint. Id. Although Mr. Harden's supervisor stated he would call Mr. Butler back, he never did. Id.

         In February of 2018, Mr. Harden called Mr. Butler to discuss G4S's contract with McCain. Id. at 7. McCain had indicated that it was going to terminate its contract with G4S, and Mr. Harden asked Mr. Butler to save the contract if he could. Id. Mr. Butler did not save the contract, and told Mr. Harden that he would be interested in accepting a job at a different G4S location. Id. When it became clear that the contract would end, on or around March 2, 2018, Mr. Harden terminated Mr. Butler, stating, “I trusted you. I thought you were going to fix this. I gave you one job.” Id. Mr. Butler alleges that Mr. Harden blamed him for losing the contract with McCain. Id. When Mr. Harden terminated Mr. Butler, he used the words “coon, ” “jiggaboo, ” and “boy, ” and called Mr. Butler “worthless.” Id.

         After he had been terminated from his position with G4S, Mr. Butler applied for and obtained a position with Securitas, the company that took over the security contract with McCain. Id. at 7-8. In his new position at Securitas, Mr. Butler makes a lower wage than the wage he earned at ¶ 4S. Id. at 8. Additionally, Mr. Butler asserts that G4S never paid him for approximately 100 hours of overtime, and that Mr. Harden told him that the unpaid overtime was “non-billable overtime.” Id.

         Mr. Butler alleges that he fully exhausted his administrative remedies through the EEOC before filing this action. Id. He asserts that Defendant G4S discriminated against him on the basis of his race in violation of Title VII and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). Id. at 8-9. He has brought claims under both statutes for disparate treatment, hostile work environment, and retaliation. Mr. Butler also asserts a claim of unlawful wage withholding under RCW 49.52.050, and a claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy under Washington State law. Id. at 9.

         In defense, G4S filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim. See ECF No. 12. While G4S has labeled its Motion as a “partial” Rule 12(b)(6) motion, it is unclear which claims the company asks the Court to dismiss. In its Motion, G4S argues that the Complaint, in its entirety, should be dismissed because it is a “shotgun pleading.” Id. at 5. Therefore, the Court will address the Motion as a motion to dismiss the entire Complaint.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, a court accepts all well-pleaded allegations as true and construes those allegations in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031-32 (9th Cir. 2008)).

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim of relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). However, “[r]ule 8(a) ‘does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence' to support the allegations.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1214 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         DISCUSSION

         I. ...


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