United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ROBERT G. STRAUB, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF MAUI, DIRECTOR TEENA RASMUSSEN, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT COUNTY OF MAUI'S MOTION
TO DISMISS, ECF NO. 12 ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT COUNTY OF
MAUI'S MOTION TO DISMISS, ECF NO. 12
MICHAEL SEABRIGHT CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
County of Maui (the “County”) has moved to
dismiss Plaintiff Robert G. Straub's
(“Straub”) First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) against the County and Teena Rasmussen
(“Rasmussen”), the Managing Director of the
County Department of Economic Development (the
“Department”). ECF No. 12. The County contends
that the FAC consists of “mere recitation of the
elements of each cause of action” and, therefore,
should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Def.'s Mem. at 1, ECF No. 12-1. For
the following reasons, the Motion is DENIED.
includes the following factual allegations. Straub worked for
the County for sixteen years, but not from 2008 to 2011. FAC
¶¶ 5, 8, ECF No. 8. After Mayor Alan Arakawa was
elected in 2011, Straub “came back” to the County
as the Mayor's office manager. Id. ¶ 8.
Most recently, he worked in the County's Business
Resource Center (“BRC”), under the supervision of
Karen Arakawa. Id. ¶ 5, 11.
2017, Straub took a 30-day family medical leave to care for
his wife, who suffers from Parkinson's disease.
Id. ¶¶ 5, 18. Four days after he returned
to work, Rasmussen fired him, ostensibly because of
“budget issues.” Id. ¶¶ 5, 7.
But “Rasmussen told others in the [Department] that she
didn't want people to be off the job for more than 2
weeks and [Straub] was gone for 30 days.” Id.
¶ 10. Additionally, Straub contends that he was replaced
by a higher paid individual, that the BRC remained at the
same number of employees after he left, and that “many
County employees” received substantial raises
retroactive to July 2016. Id. ¶¶ 7, 10.
Straub, who is 71, also contends that he was replaced by a
“substantially younger and less qualified”
individual. Id. ¶ 6.
he was fired, Straub spoke to Mayor Arakawa and also to
Rasmussen's “boss, ” Chief of Staff Herman
Andaya, who both “denied having any involvement in the
decision to terminate him and supported him remaining
employed in the Mayor's office.” Id.
obtained right-to-sue letters from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Hawaii
Civil Rights Commission (“HCRC”) in October 2017.
Id. ¶ 12.
point, Karen Arakawa “told others that the County could
not buy t-shirts from [Straub's] company this year, as
[it] had for the past 6 years, because of [Straub's]
claims against the County.” Id. ¶ 11.
filed his original Complaint against the County in October
2017, ECF No. 1, and the FAC naming Rasmussen on November 9,
2017, ECF No. 8. The FAC alleges four Counts: (1)
interference and retaliation in violation of the Family
Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§ 2615(a)(1) and (2), based on the termination of
Straub's employment; (2) interference and retaliation
under the FMLA based on the County's “termination
of purchasing t-shirts from [Straub's] Ultra Hawaii
business”; (3) violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 12122(b)(4); and (4) age discrimination in violation
of Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1) and Hawaii
Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 378-2. FAC
County filed its Motion to Dismiss on November 24, 2017, ECF
No. 12, and Straub filed his Opposition on January 12, 2018,
ECF No. 20. The County replied on January 22, 2017. ECF No.
21. In the meantime, Rasmussen signed a waiver of service on
December 7, 2017, and on January 30, 2018, Corporation
Counsel entered an appearance for Rasmussen and filed a
Substantive Joinder to the County's Motion on her behalf.
ECF Nos. 17, 22.
hearing was held on February 5, 2018.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a court to dismiss a
complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Such a dismissal is proper
“based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the
absence of sufficient facts alleged.” UMG
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F.3d 1006, 1014 ...