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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. BLI Northwest, Inc.

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

January 14, 2020

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff
v.
BLI NORTHWEST, INC., f/k/a DIAMOND B CONSTRUCTORS, INC., and HARRIS PACIFIC NORTHWEST, LLC f/k/a HARRIS ACQUISITION IV, LLC, Defendants.

          ROBERTA L. STEELE Regional Attorney.

          JOHN F. STANLEY Supervisory Trial Attorney.

          MAY R. CHE Senior Trial Attorney.

          SHARON FAST GUSTAFSON General Counsel.

          JAMES L. LEE Deputy General Counsel.

          GWENDOLYN Y. REAMS Associate General Counsel.

          Roberta L. Steele ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF EEOC.

          DAVID W. SILKE GORDON REESE SCULLY MANSUKHANI, LLP.

          David W. Silke ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS.

          [PROPOSED] ORDER APPROVING CONSENT DECREE

          HONRABLE RICHARD A. JONES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JJODGE.

         The Court, having considered the foregoing Consent Decree entered into by the parties, HEREBY ORDERS THAT the Consent Decree be, and the same hereby is, approved as the final decree of this Court in full settlement of this action. This lawsuit is hereby dismissed with prejudice and without costs or attorneys' fees. The Court retains jurisdiction of this matter for purposes of enforcing the Consent Decree approved herein.

         [PROPOSED] CONSENT DECREE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         1. This action originated when Charging Party Angela Watson filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC" or "Commission"). Ms. Watson alleged Defendant BLI Northwest Inc., f/k/a Diamond B Constructors Inc. ("Defendant BLI") discriminated against her in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 ("ADA") when Defendant BLI unlawfully discharged her because of her disability.

         2. On December 18, 2014, the EEOC issued a Letter of Determination with a finding of reasonable cause to believe that Diamond B Constructors, named in this lawsuit as Defendant BLI Northwest Inc., f/k/a Diamond B Constructors Inc. ("Defendant BLI"), violated the ADA. Thereafter, EEOC attempted to conciliate the charge and conciliation was unsuccessful.

         3. The Commission filed this lawsuit on June 25, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington alleging that Defendant BLI Northwest Inc., f/k/a Diamond B Constructors Inc. ("Defendant BLI"), and Defendants Creative Sustainable Solutions, Inc., Harris Acquisition IV, LLC, and Harris Contracting Company, dba Harris (collectively "Harris Defendants") discriminated against Ms. Watson when they terminated her employment on the basis of her disability. The EEOC alleged that Harris Defendants are liable in this matter under the principles of successor liability based on the conduct of the predecessor company Defendant BLI. The EEOC has since confirmed that the proper Defendant entities are BLI Northwest Inc. f/k/a Diamond B Constructors, Inc., and Harris Pacific Northwest, LLC f/k/a Harris Acquisition IV, LLC. Pursuant to the stipulation of the parties, the EEOC has filed an Amended Complaint dismissing OneHarris, Inc. f/k/a Creative Sustainable Solutions, Inc. and Harris Contracting Company, dba Harris, as Defendants and all claims asserted against them, and naming BLI Northwest Inc. f/k/a Diamond B Constructors, Inc. and Harris Pacific Northwest, LLC f/k/a Harris Acquisition IV, LLC, as the named Defendants (collectively "Settling Defendants"). Pursuant to this stipulation, the Court has entered an Order of dismissal dismissing all claims asserted against OneHarris, Inc. f/k/a Creative Sustainable Solutions, Inc. and Harris Contracting Company, dba Harris, with prejudice and without fees or costs to any party.

         4. The parties want to conclude fully and finally all claims arising out of the EEOC's Amended Complaint and Ms. Watson's charge of discrimination filed with EEOC. The EEOC and Settling Defendants enter into this Consent Decree to further the objectives of equal employment opportunity as set forth in the ADA.

         II. NON-ADMISSION OF LIABILITY AND NON-DETERMINATION BY THE COURT

         5. This Consent Decree is not an adjudication or finding on the merits of this case and shall not be construed as an admission by Defendants of a violation of the ADA or any other laws. Defendants have denied that they have committed any alleged unlawful employment practices. The parties also recognize and admit that the alleged unlawful employment practices occurred before any of the Harris Defendants acquired Defendant BLI, and nobody who was employed by the Harris Defendants at the time of the alleged unlawful employment practices was involved in any way with any of the alleged unlawful employment practices. As an acquiring entity, however, Harris Pacific Northwest, LLC f/k/a Harris Acquisition IV, LLC is entering into this Consent Decree to resolve the dispute without admitting any unlawful employment practices. As the predecessor entity, Defendant BLI is entering into this Consent Decree as one of the Settling Defendants to the extent Defendant BLI has any employees, or could have any employees, who could complete any of the injunctive obligations of the Consent Decree, which it does not at this time.

         III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

         6. Jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 451, 1331, 1337, 1343 and 1345. This action is authorized and instituted pursuant to Section 107(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a), which incorporates by reference Sections 706(f)(1) and (3) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3) ...


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