United States District Court, D. Hawaii
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT RENGO
PACKAGING, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS
Richard L. Puglisi, United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Defendant Rengo Packaging, Inc.'s Motion to
Dismiss, filed on July 13, 2017 (“Motion”). ECF
No. 10. Plaintiff filed his Opposition on August 9, 2017. ECF
No. 15. Defendant filed its Reply on August 29, 2017. ECF No.
19. The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition
without a hearing pursuant to Rule 7.2(d) of the Local Rules
of Practice for the United States District Court for the
District of Hawaii and VACATES the hearing set for September
15, 2017. See ECF No. 13. After carefully reviewing
the parties' submissions and the relevant legal
authority, the Court GRANTS the Motion.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was hired by Defendant
on August 1, 2014. ECF No. 1 ¶ 7. Plaintiff alleges that
between August 1, 2014, and May 29, 2015, Plaintiff was
subjected to racial harassment by another employee who
repeatedly called Plaintiff a “f-ing haole, ”
even after Plaintiff repeatedly told the employee to stop
referring to him in that manner. Id. ¶¶ 8,
9. Plaintiff alleges that he complained about the harassment
to the Defendants' human resources manager, but no action
was taken to address the matter. Id. ¶ 10.
Plaintiff alleges that he was suspended from his job two
times for leaving in early 2015. Id. ¶ 11.
Plaintiff alleges that he did not violate the company's
workplace violence policy. Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff
alleges that he was terminated from employment with Defendant
on May 29, 2015, “due to discrimination based on his
race which is White, and in retaliation for complaining about
discrimination.” Id. ¶¶ 4, 13.
asserts claims for race discrimination and retaliation in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a
claim under Hawaii's Whistleblower's Protection Act
(“HWPA”). Id. ¶¶ 16-26.
Plaintiff also seeks damages for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Id. at 5.
present Motion, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's
Complaint must be dismissed because it fails to plausibly
allege facts in support of Plaintiff's Title VII and HWPA
claims. ECF No. 10-1. Defendant also argues that
Plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress must be dismissed because it is barred by the
exclusivity provision of Hawaii's Workers'
Compensation Law. Id.
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court may dismiss a complaint that fails
“to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court must
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff and accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as
true. Sateriale v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 697
F.3d 777, 783 (9th Cir. 2012). The complaint “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “The plausibility standard . . .
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id. A complaint that merely
“offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action'” is not sufficient. Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). If the complaint is
dismissed, the Court should grant leave to amend unless the
Court determines that the pleading cannot be cured by new
factual allegations. OSU Student All. v. Ray, 699
F.3d 1053, 1079 (9th Cir. 2012).
Defendant's Request to Dismiss Plaintiff's Claim for
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is
seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim on the basis that Hawaii's
Workers' Compensation Statute, Hawaii Revised Statutes
Section 386-5, provides the exclusive remedy for work-related
injuries, including emotional distress. ECF No. 10-1 at
12-13. “Generally, the workers' compensation scheme
serves to bar a civil action for physical and emotional
damages resulting from work-related injuries and
accidents.” Nelson v. Univ. of Haw., 38 P.3d
95, 112 (Haw. 2001). “Under the workers'
compensation statute, the workers' compensation benefits
provided to an employee on account of a work injury
‘shall exclude all other liability of the employer to
the employee' on account of that injury.” Yang
v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, 284 P.3d 946, 950
(Haw. Ct. App. 2012); see also Chan v. Wells Fargo
Advisors, LLC, 124 F.Supp.3d 1045, 1060 (D. Haw. 2015)
(holding that the plaintiff's claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress related to his disability
discrimination was barred by section 386-5). Although
specific exceptions are enumerated in the statute, they do
not apply here. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 386-5.
Plaintiff agrees that his claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress should be dismissed. See ECF No.
15 at 8. Accordingly, Defendant's request to dismiss this
claim is GRANTED.
Defendant's Request to Dismiss Plaintiff's Title VII
Claims is GRANTED.
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or
national origin. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. “Title
VII's anti-retaliation provision forbids employer actions
that discriminate against an employee . . . because he has
opposed a practice that Title VII forbids.”
Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548
U.S. 53, 62 (2006) (citations omitted).
establish a prima facie case of unlawful discrimination under
Title VII, a plaintiff must plausibly allege that: (1) he is
a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified for his
position; (3) he experienced an adverse employment action;
and (4) similarly situated individuals outside the protected
class were treated more favorably or other circumstances
surrounding the adverse employment action give rise to an
inference of discrimination. Hawn v. Exec. ...