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Melani C. Deer v. Lear Seigler

July 25, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge


Before the Court is Defendant URS Federal Technical Services, Inc.'s*fn1 ("URS") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint ("Motion"), filed on March 15, 2012. Pro se plaintiff Melani C. Deer ("Plaintiff") failed to file a timely response to the Motion, which was originally set for hearing on July 2, 2012. On June 15, 2012, URS filed a notice of Plaintiff's failure to respond. On June 20, 2012, this Court issued an entering order noting Plaintiff's failure to respond to the Motion and vacating the hearing on the Motion ("June 20, 2012 EO"). The Court gave Plaintiff until June 27, 2012 to respond to the hearing being vacated. Plaintiff failed to respond to the June 20, 2012 EO. The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i ("Local Rules"). After careful consideration of the Motion and the relevant legal authority, URS's Motion is HEREBY GRANTED and Plaintiff's claims against URS are HEREBY DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. In addition, Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Lear Seigler Services, Inc. ("Lear Seigler") are also DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.


Plaintiff filed her Employment Discrimination Complaint ("Complaint") on September 21, 2011 against URS and Lear Seigler. The caption of the Complaint refers to "Lear Seigler, URS EG&G," and Plaintiff identifies the defendant's address as "Lear Seigler Services, URS[.]" [Complaint at 1.]

Plaintiff submitted a Charge of Discrimination ("Charge") to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission ("HCRC") on June 17, 2011. It states that, on September 22, 2007, Lear Seigler hired Plaintiff to work at Wheeler Air Force Base. Plaintiff identified only Lear Seigler in the portion of the form marked "Named is the Employer, Labor Organization, Employment Agency, Apprenticeship Committee, or State or Local Government Agency That I Believe Discriminated Against Me or Others." [Id., Exh. at 3.*fn2 ] The Charge alleges that, during Plaintiff's employment, Lear Seigler subjected her to sexual harassment, as well as discrimination and retaliation based on her race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability. Plaintiff states that, on December 26, 2007, she suffered an injury at work as a result of a prank, which she alleges was perpetrated against her for retaliatory purposes. She was never able to return to work after the incident. The Charge states the earliest date that the alleged discrimination took place was September 22, 2007 and the latest date was December 28, 2007. Plaintiff did not check the box marked "CONTINUING ACTION". [Id.]

The EEOC issued its Dismissal and Notice of Rights ("Right to Sue Letter") on June 29, 2011. The Right to Sue Letter stated that the EEOC was closing its case file because Plaintiff did not file the Charge in a timely manner after the alleged discrimination. The Right to Sue Letter also stated that Plaintiff could file a lawsuit against the respondent within ninety days of receipt of the letter. [Id., Exh. at 1.]

Plaintiff filed a Return of Service on February 23, 2012. It stated that a process server completed service on "URS Federal Technical Services, Inc., . . . thru (sic) agent Margie Kaikaka at The Corporation Company, Inc. . . ." [Dkt. no. 13.] The instant Motion followed.*fn3 URS argues that this Court should dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint with prejudice because Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, as required under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. URS argues that Plaintiff did not file a timely discrimination charge with any administrative agency, and Plaintiff did not file the Charge against URS or any other URS entity. Further, insofar as Plaintiff's Complaint attempts to assert state tort claims arising from the allegedly discriminatory conduct, the tort claims are both barred by the applicable statute of limitations and preempted by Hawaii's workers' compensation statutes.


I. Discrimination Claims

At the outset, the Court notes that it will liberally construe Plaintiff's pleadings because she is proceeding pro se. See Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) ("The Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the 'inartful pleading' of pro se litigants." (citing Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365, 102 S. Ct. 700, 701, 70 L. Ed. 2d 551 (1982) (per curiam))). Thus, although Plaintiff's Complaint uses a form stating, inter alia, "[t]his action is brought pursuant to Title VII[,]" [Complaint at 2,] the Court liberally construes Plaintiff's Complaint as also asserting discrimination claims under the ADEA and the ADA [id. at 3 (alleging that Plaintiff suffered discrimination on the basis of her race or color, sex, and age)].

Title VII, the ADEA, and the ADA each requires a claimant to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing a civil action against the employer that allegedly discriminated against her. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e--5; 29 U.S.C. § 626; 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a) (noting that the procedures set forth in, inter alia, § 2000e-5 apply to the ADA).

A. Named Defendants

As previously noted, the Charge identifies "Lear Seigler Services, Inc." as Plaintiff's employer and the sole respondent. [Complaint, Exh. at 3.] "Generally, Title VII claimants 'may only sue [parties] named in the EEOC charge because only those [parties] named had an opportunity to respond to the charges during the administrative proceedings.'"*fn4 Nowick v. Gammell, 351 F. Supp. 2d 1025, 1036 (D. Hawai`i 2004) (alterations in Nowick) (quoting Sosa v. Hiraoka, 920 F.2d 1451, 1458 (9th Cir. 1990)). There are, however, several exceptions to this general rule:

First, Title VII claims may be brought in a lawsuit against persons not named in an EEOC complaint "as long as they were involved in the acts giving rise to the EEOC claims." Wrighten v. Metro. Hosp., Inc., 726 F.2d 1346, 1352 (9th Cir. 1984); Chung [v. ...

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