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Clinton C. St. Classis Brown v. DCK Worldwide LLC

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 17, 2016



          Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge.

         On April 19, 2016, pro se Plaintiff Clinton C. St. Classis Brown, II (“Plaintiff”) filed an Ex-Parte Motion to Appeal Ruling by Judge Kenneth Mansfield Rendered on April 13, 2016 (“Appeal”).[1] [Dkt. no. 118.] Defendants dck Worldwide LLC, dck Guam LLC, and DCK Pacific Guam, LLC (collectively “Defendants”) filed a memorandum in opposition on May 12, 2016. [Dkt. no. 125.] The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) 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 Appeal, supporting and opposing memoranda, and the relevant legal authority, Plaintiff’s Appeal is HEREBY DENIED for the reasons set forth below.


         Plaintiff was employed by Defendants from February 2013 to April 2013 as a Construction Quality Control Manager on a hospital project in Dededo, Guam (“Project”). [First Amended Complaint, filed 5/6/15 (dkt. no. 37), at ¶¶ 4, 23.] He states that, a few weeks into his job, a representative of the hospital asked Plaintiff to show him around the Project. During the tour, Plaintiff, at the representative’s request, pointed out problems with the Project. [Id. at ¶ 7.] Plaintiff alleges that, after the tour, Defendants began to treat him differently. This treatment included, inter alia: a reprimand for calling in sick; verbal abuse for calling in sick; and being forced to work longer hours than other employees. [Id. at ¶¶ 9-12.] Plaintiff further alleges that he was subjected to racial slurs and other unfair treatment based on his race. [Id. at ¶¶ 15-21, 31-37.] On April 14, 2013, Plaintiff was terminated from his employment with Defendants, and he states that Defendants went out of their way to ensure that he did not find another job in the construction industry in Guam or Hawai`i. [Id. at ¶¶ 23, 25.]

         The First Amended Complaint states claims for: violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (“Count I”); [id. at ¶ 39;] retaliation in violation of Title VII (“Count II”); [id. at ¶¶ 40-42;] violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985 (“Count III”); [id. at ¶¶ 43-44;] violation of Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 378; [id. at ¶¶ 45-46;] and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“Count IV”) [id. at ¶¶ 47-50].

         On February 3, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion for an Order Prohibiting Plaintiff Clinton St. Classis Brown II’s Direct Contact and Harassment of Witnesses, Employees, and Agents of Defendants (“Contact Motion”). [Dkt. no. 95.] The Contact Motion sought a court order prohibiting Plaintiff from contacting Defendants’ witnesses, officers, and agents. The motion also sought fees and costs incurred as a result of filing the motion and attending the hearing.[2] [Mem. in Supp. of Contact Motion at 6.]

         On February 12, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion for Protective Order Concerning Plaintiffs Requests for Production/Discovery of Financial Information of Defendants, Its Officers, Employees and/or Agents (“Motion for Protective Order”). [Dkt. no. 100.] The motion sought a protective order, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), regarding Defendants’ financial information, including, inter alia, tax returns, the value of certain federal contracts, and employees’ personal tax returns. The Motion for Protective Order also sought to quash Plaintiff’s subpoenas seeking such information. [Motion for Protective Order at 2-3.]

         On February 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion for Sanctions for Plaintiff’s Failure to Provide Discovery (“Motion for Sanctions”). [Dkt. no. 104.] The Motion for Sanctions sought: the production of discovery requested and required of Plaintiff pursuant to previous court orders; sanctions for failure to provide the discovery within thirty days; and attorneys’ fees and costs for filing the motion and attending the hearing. [Mem. in Supp. of Motion for Sanctions at 13.]

         All three motions were heard by the magistrate judge on April 13, 2016. At the hearing, the magistrate judge orally: granted the Contact Motion, without attorneys’ fees and costs; granted the Motion for Protective Order without attorneys’ fees and costs; and granted in part and denied in part the Motion for Sanctions, granting all but one of the sanctions requested by Defendants. [Minutes, filed 4/13/16 (dkt. no. 116), at 1-2.] On April 26, 2016, the magistrate judge filed written orders in accordance with his oral rulings. See dkt. nos. 121-123.


         This district court has stated:

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), a district judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and decide a pretrial matter pending before the court. The decision of the magistrate judge on non-dispositive matters is final. Bhan v. NME Hosp., Inc., 929 F.2d 1404, 1414 (9th Cir. 1991). However, a district judge may reconsider a magistrate’s order on these non-dispositive pretrial matters and set aside that order, or any portion thereof, if it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); LR 74.1; see Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Osband v. Woodford, 290 F.3d 1036, 1041 (9th Cir. 2002).
The threshold of the “clearly erroneous” test is high. See Boskoff v. Yano, 217 F.Supp.2d 1077, 1084 (D. Haw. 2001). The magistrate judge’s factual findings must be accepted unless the court is “left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. Silverman, 861 F.2d 571, 576-[77] (9th Cir. 1988). “The reviewing court may not simply substitute its judgment for that of the deciding court.” Grimes v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991).
“A decision is ‘contrary to law’ if it applies an incorrect legal standard or fails to consider an element of the applicable standard.” Na Pali Haweo Cmty. Ass’n v. Grande, 252 F.R.D. 672, 674 (D. Haw. 2008); see Hunt v. Nat’l Broadcasting Co., 872 F.2d 289, 292 ...

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