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Scott v. Mantech International Corp.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 2, 2019

REMINGTON SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
MANTECH INTERNATIONAL CORP.; JOHN DOES 1-10; JANE DOES 1-10; DOE CORPORATIONS 1-10; DOE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES 1-10; DOE PARTNERSHIPS 1-10; DOE NONPROFIT CORPORATIONS 1-10; and DOE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES 1-10, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, ECF NO. 29, AND DENYING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, ECF NO. 33

          J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On September 24, 2018, Plaintiff Remington Scott (“Scott”) filed a Complaint alleging claims against Defendants ManTech International Corp. (“ManTech”), John Does 1-10, Jane Does 1-10, Doe Corporations 1-10, Doe Limited Liability Companies 1-10, Doe Partnerships 1-10, Doe Non-Profit Corporations 1-10, and Doe Governmental Entities 1-10, alleging hostile work environment based on racial discrimination (Count I) and retaliation (Count V).[1]Compl., ECF No. 1.

         Currently before the court are (1) ManTech's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Count I - Hostile Work Environment based on Racial Discrimination) and (2) ManTech's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Count V - Retaliation). Based on the following, the court GRANTS Mantech's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings for Count I, and DENIES Mantech's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings for Count V.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Allegations in the Complaint

         The Complaint alleges the following: Scott, who is of “Filipino and African-American ancestry, ” served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. Army before his honorable discharge in 2011. ECF No. 1, Compl. ¶¶ 9-14. Scott believes he developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of his army service, although he was not diagnosed with PTSD until 2015. Id. ¶ 15. ManTech employed Scott starting in August 2012, and in June 2016, Scott accepted a transfer to Kuwait, which included a 10% increase in pay and a daily food stipend. Id. ¶¶ 16-17. Prior to this transfer, Scott had received generally positive performance reviews, had not been disciplined by ManTech for his work performance or behavior, and had not experienced any misconduct while at ManTech. Id. ¶ 18.

         Soon after the June 2016 transfer, Scott's supervisor, Derrick Traughber, told Scott that “half-black and half-Filipinos aren't allowed in the office” in front of another person, Fletcher Smith. Id. ¶¶ 19-21. Not long after, Traughber told Scott that he would enjoy living with a coworker because “you both are Filipino and eat the same food.” Id. ¶ 22. In November 2016, Traughber told another person, Tonia Cannon, that Scott was a “whore.” Id. ¶ 23. Scott made a formal complaint to ManTech in January 2017 concerning Traughber's behavior and ManTech's review corroborated Scott's claim about Traughber's comments. Id. ¶¶ 24-25.

         Soon after making the complaint, Scott alleges that he was retaliated against in the following ways: (1) Scott was required to wear safety goggles when others were not; (2) Scott's requests for repairs to the vehicle he was assigned to drive were denied and as a result the vehicle was unsafe to drive; (3) on February 15, 2017, when Scott refused to drive the unsafe vehicle, he was reprimanded by two supervisors, including Jeffrey Bentley (“Bentley”); (4) the next day, Bentley did not allow Scott to take a lunch break; and (5) the day after that, Bentley ordered - in a hostile manner and in front of other employees - Scott to get out of his vehicle and did not allow him to return to work that day. Id. ¶ 26.

         In response to these incidents, Scott asked ManTech to transfer him back to Hawaii, which was approved. Id. Six hours after the transfer was approved, Scott contacted ManTech and requested that the transfer be cancelled, but ManTech refused his request. Id. Scott then resigned from his position on April 1, 2017. Id. The Complaint alleges that Scott resigned “due to the discriminatory and retaliatory treatment received from ManTech and out of frustration and disappointment[.]” Id. The Complaint also alleges that Scott resigned because of his PTSD, which was exacerbated due to the discrimination and retaliation at ManTech. Id. ¶ 27.

         B. Procedural History

         On September 24, 2018, Scott filed the Complaint, bringing the following claims: Count 1 (Hostile Work Environment based on Racial Discrimination; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”)); Count II (Disability Discrimination; Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)); Count III (Racial Discrimination; Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) Ch. 378); Count IV (Disability Discrimination; HRS Ch. 378); Count V (Retaliation); Count VI (Constructive Termination); Count VII (Harassment); Count VIII (Intentional and/or Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress). ECF No. 1. On January 4, 2019, Counts III, IV, VI, VII, and VIII were dismissed by stipulation. ECF No. 26. On January 29, 2019, Count II was dismissed pursuant to the court's previous order. ECF No. 32.

         On January 17, 2019, ManTech filed its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Count I - Hostile Work Environment based on Racial Discrimination). ECF No. 29. On January 29, 2019, ManTech filed its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Count V - Retaliation). ECF No. 33. On February 18, 2019, Scott filed his Opposition. ECF No. 35. On February 25, 2019, ManTech filed its Replies. ECF Nos. 38, 39. A hearing was held on March 11, 2019.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is a means to challenge the sufficiency of the complaint after an answer has been filed.” Rohm v. Homer, 367 F.Supp.2d 1278, 1281 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (quotation marks and citation omitted). A party may make a motion for judgment on the pleadings at any time after the pleadings are closed, but within such time as to not delay the trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Because the issue presented by a Rule 12(c) motion is substantially the same as that posed in a 12(b)(6) motion - whether the factual allegations of the complaint, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible claim for relief - the same standard applies to both. See Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 & n.4 (9th Cir. 2011); see also Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine ...


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