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United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Global Horizons, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 19, 2014

UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC., DBA GLOBAL HORIZONS MANPOWER, INC.; CAPTAIN COOK COFFEE COMPANY LTD.; DEL MONTE FRESH PRODUCE (HAWAII), INC.; KAUAI COFFEE COMPANY, INC.; KELENA FARMS, INC.,; MAC FARMS OF HAWAII, LLC NKA MF NUT CO., LLC; MAUI PINEAPPLE COMPANY, LTD. AKA MAUI PINEAPPLE FARMS; ALEXANDER & BALDWIN, INC.; MASSIMO ZANETTI BEVERAGE USA, INC.; AND DOES 1-15, INCLUSIVE, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Plaintiff: Anna Y. Park, Sue J. Noh, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Derek W. Li, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Los Angeles, Los Angeles District Office, Los Angeles, CA; Elizabeth Esparza-Cervantes, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Los Angeles District Office, Los Angeles, CA; Connie Liem, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission San Diego, San Diego Local Office, San Diego, CA; Lorena Garcia-Bautista, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Los Angeles, CA; Rumduol Vuong, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Fresno, CA.

For Global Horizons, Inc., doing business as Global Horizons Manpower, Inc., Defendant: Michael Jay Green, LEAD ATTORNEY, Honolulu, Hi; Javier Lopez-Perez, PRO HAC VICE, Northridge, CA.

Captain Cook Coffee Company Ltd., Defendant, Pro se, Burlingame, CA.

For Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii), also known as Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii) Inc., Defendant: Christie L. Kriegsfeld, Kristin R. Culbertson, Mark Ogden, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Phoenix, AZ; David W.H. Chee, LEAD ATTORNEY, Tom Quitiquit Chee Watts & Yamamoto, LLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Kauai Coffee Company, Inc., Defendant: Christopher J. DeGroff, Gerald L. Maatman, Jr, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL; Laura J. Maechtlen, Robb D. McFadden, Robert Brian Wong, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, San Francisco, CA; Mark J. Bennett, Richard John Wallsgrove, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher, Honolulu, HI.

For Kelena Farms, Inc., Defendant: Dax B. Deason, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Deason Law Group, P.C., Houston, TX; Jim Darnell, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, El Paso, TX; Sarah O. Wang, William N. Ota, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Marr Jones & Wang LLLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Mac Farms of Hawaii, LLC, now known as MF Nut Co., LLC, Defendant: Barbara A. Petrus, LEAD ATTORNEY, Anne T. Horiuchi, Carolyn K. Wong, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel LLLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd., also known as Maui Pineapple Farms, Defendant: Christopher S. Yeh, Darin Robinson Leong, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Marr Jones & Wang LLLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, Inc., Defendants: Christopher J. DeGroff, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Gerald L. Maatman, Jr, LEAD ATTORNEY, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL; Laura J. Maechtlen, Robb D. McFadden, Robert Brian Wong, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, San Francisco, CA; Mark J. Bennett, Richard John Wallsgrove, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher, Honolulu, HI.

For Mac Farms of Hawaii, LLC, Cross Claimant: Barbara A. Petrus, LEAD ATTORNEY, Anne T. Horiuchi, Carolyn K. Wong, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel LLLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Global Horizons, Inc., Cross Defendant: Michael Jay Green, LEAD ATTORNEY, Honolulu, Hi; Javier Lopez-Perez, PRO HAC VICE, Northridge, CA.

Captain Cook Coffee Company Ltd., Cross Claimant, Pro se, Burlingame, CA.

For Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii), Cross Claimant: Christie L. Kriegsfeld, Kristin R. Culbertson, Mark Ogden, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Phoenix, AZ; David W.H. Chee, LEAD ATTORNEY, Tom Quitiquit Chee Watts & Yamamoto, LLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd., Cross Claimant: Christopher S. Yeh, Darin Robinson Leong, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Marr Jones & Wang LLLP, Honolulu, HI.

For Kelena Farms, Inc., Cross Claimant: Dax B. Deason, LEAD ATTORNEY, Deason Law Group, P.C., Houston, TX; Jim Darnell, LEAD ATTORNEY, El Paso, TX; Sarah O. Wang, LEAD ATTORNEY, Marr Jones & Wang LLLP, Honolulu, HI.

OPINION

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Leslie E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S: MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE EEOC'S PATTERN OR PRACTICE CLAIM OF HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC.; MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE EEOC'S PATTERN OR PRACTICE CLAIM OF DISPARATE TREATMENT AGAINST GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC.; AND MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE EEOC'S PATTERN OR PRACTICE CLAIM OF RETALIATION AGAINST GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC.

Before the Court are Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (" the EEOC" or " Plaintiff" ): Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the EEOC's Pattern or Practice Claim of Hostile Work Environment Against Defendant Global Horizons, Inc.,[1] (" Hostile Work Environment Motion" ) filed on November 1, 2013; [dkt. nos. 606-07; ] the EEOC's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the EEOC's Pattern or Practice Claim of Disparate Treatment Against Global Horizons, Inc. (" Disparate Treatment Motion" ), filed on November 1, 2013; [dkt. nos. 610, 612; ] and the EEOC's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the EEOC's Pattern or Practice Claim of Retaliation Against Global Horizons, Inc. (" Retaliation Motion" ), filed on November 1, 2013 [dkt. nos. 616, 618].[2] Global Horizons did not

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respond to the EEOC's motions.[3] On December 6, 2013, the EEOC filed a consolidated reply as to all four of its motions, emphasizing Global Horizons's failure to respond. [Dkt. no. 659.]

The Court finds these matters 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 motions and the relevant legal authority, the EEOC's Hostile Work Environment Motion, the EEOC's Disparate Treatment Motion, and the EEOC's Retaliation Motion are HEREBY GRANTED, for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

This Court set out the general background of this case in the 2/28/14 Order, and will only address the allegations that are relevant to the motions currently before it.

The motions currently before this Court address the EEOC's claims against Global Horizons for pattern or practice of discriminatory treatment based on national origin, retaliation, and/or constructive discharge, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e-2(a), 2000e-3(a) (" Count I" ). [Third Amended Complaint, filed 6/4/12 (dkt. no. 263), at ¶ ¶ 622-26, 642-44.] Count I alleges, in pertinent part:

623. At all times relevant to this action, the Claimants [4] were employed by Global [Horizons].
624. Since 2003, Global [Horizons] supplied the Claimants to work at one or more farms owned and operated by the Farm Defendants.
625. Since 2003, Global [Horizons] engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory employment practices at its facilities in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California and at the Farm Defendants' farms located in Oahu, Maui, and, Kauai, and Hawaii in violation of § § 703(a) and 704(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) by discriminating against the Claimants with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment because of their Asian race and/or Thai national origin; subjecting the Claimants to harassment and hostile work environment because of their Asian race and/or Thai national origin; retaliating against employees for engaging in protected activity including but not limited to opposing and/or complaining about the discriminatory terms and conditions of employment, harassment, and/or hostile work environment; and/or constructively discharged the Claimants by subjecting them to intolerable working conditions and/or terms and conditions of employment.
626. Global [Horizons]'s pattern and/or practice of discriminatory treatment includes, without limitation, harassment, hostile work environment, disparate treatment, constructive discharge, and retaliation against employees for engaging in protected activity including but not limited to opposing and/or complaining about the discriminatory terms and conditions of employment,

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harassment, and/or hostile work environment.

[Id. at ¶ ¶ 623-26.]

The EEOC served three sets of requests for admissions (" RFA" ) on Global Horizons, but Global Horizons neither answered nor objected to any of the three sets of RFA. [Decl. of Sue Noh in Supp. of Pltf. EEOC's Motions for Partial Summary Judgment Against Global Horizons, Inc. Re: Pattern or Practice of Disparate Treatment, Hostile Environment & Retaliation, filed 11/1/13 (dkt. no. 628) (" Noh Decl." ),[5] at ¶ ¶ 1-2; id., Exh. 1 (RFA Set 1 (Nos. 1-709)); id., Exh. 2 (RFA Set 2 (Nos. 710-1210)).] The EEOC argues that, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3), the matters in the RFA sets are deemed admitted as a matter of law.

The EEOC further argues that, based on the undisputed facts of this case, it is entitled to summary judgment as to the pattern and practice claims of hostile work environment, disparate treatment, and retaliation in Count I. This Court notes that, insofar as the EEOC's Merits Motions all rely on pattern and practice allegations, this Court does not ...


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