United States District Court, D. Hawaii
KEIRON B. PRATT, Plaintiff,
STATE OF HAWAII, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DOE DEFENDANTS 1-10, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE
DERRICK K.WATSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
initiated a state and federal law-based employment
discrimination action on December 19, 2017, seeking monetary
damages and equitable relief against his former employer,
Defendant State of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Safety
(“DPS” or “Department”). This Court
dismissed Pratt's Complaint and First Amended Complaint
in April and November 2018, respectively, each with leave to
amend. Dkt. Nos. 16 and 33.
December 8, 2018, Pratt filed a Second Amended Complaint
(“SAC”) limited to Title VII-based retaliation
and sex discrimination claims. For the reasons set forth
below, the Department's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings is GRANTED as to Pratt's sex discrimination
claims and GRANTED IN PART as to his retaliation claims.
Further leave to amend is DENIED.
worked as a Deputy Sheriff for the Department of Public
Safety from April 2002 until 2017. See SAC
¶¶11-13. Initially hired as a “Deputy Sheriff
I” (SAC ¶11), Pratt “was promoted to Deputy
Sheriff II” in 2003 (SAC ¶12). As a Deputy Sheriff
II, Pratt was “assigned to various sections including
the Criminal Investigation Unit [(“CIU”)] of the
Sheriff Division as an Investigator” (SAC ¶13). In
2008, Pratt “sought a transfer from warrants to [the]
records department” (SAC ¶22); in 2009, he sought
a transfer to Capitol Patrol (SAC ¶23); and in 2013, he
sought a transfer again, this time to CIU (SAC ¶25).
states that he has been “open about his
homosexuality” since receiving a “homosexual
discharge by the military under DD-214” in 1994. SAC
¶15. Although Pratt “did not talk about his
homosexuality” in the workplace prior to 2004 (SAC
¶¶17), “[t]he DD-214 . . . was given
to” DPS when Pratt was hired, and DPS “placed it
in his personnel file with HR” (SAC ¶16).
“In 2004, [Pratt] became openly gay at his workplace in
the Warrants Division after he was informed by his partner
deputy sheriff that everyone at the office, including his
supervisors and fellow deputy sheriffs, knew he was
gay.” SAC ¶18. From that time until 2007, Pratt
claims to have been “repeatedly and frequently sexually
harassed by fellow deputy sheriffs, who would call him by
female-gender names and scorn and ridicule him and his lack
of dating women, and humiliate him by displaying homophobic
behavior toward him.” SAC ¶20.
2008, Pratt filed an administrative complaint with the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
and the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission
(“HCRC”) regarding this harassment. SAC ¶21.
Pratt filed suit in state court in 2012, Civil No.
12-1-1409-05 KKS (“2012 Lawsuit”). SAC
1, 2014, Pratt alleges that he “was again subjected to
sex discrimination, [a] sexually hostile work environment,
and retaliation by his fellow deputies” in the CIU,
“who ridiculed him for his sexual orientation (gay) and
stated that [he] was his partner's ‘10-3', a
code used for deputies who are married and are seeing someone
on the side.” SAC ¶26. As a result of these
incidents, Pratt filed another administrative complaint, and
after receiving a right-to-sue letter from the HCRC, Pratt
sued DPS again in both state and federal courts. SAC ¶27
(citing Keiron Pratt v. State of Hawaii, et al.;
Civil No. 15-1-1289-07 JHC (1st Cir. Ct., State of
Hawai‘i); Keiron Pratt v. State of Hawaii, et
al., Civil No. 15-00264 HG KSC (D. Haw. July 14, 2015)
(“2015 Lawsuit”)) According to Pratt, the 2015
Lawsuit was “resolved in [his] favor pursuant to a
settlement agreement (‘the April 2016
Settlement').” SAC ¶29.
alleges that after the April 2016 Settlement, DPS subjected
him yet again to a “further sexually hostile work
environment, sex discrimination, and retaliation.” SAC
¶30. Pratt summarizes the facts underlying these alleged
wrongdoings in paragraphs 30 through 48 of the SAC and
asserts that these events resulted in another administrative
complaint with the HCRC and EEOC on February 22, 2017
(“EEOC Charge”). SAC ¶31.
EEOC issued Pratt a right-to-sue letter on October 16, 2017.
SAC ¶4. Pratt then initiated the instant lawsuit on
December 19, 2017. Complaint ("Compl."), Dkt. No.
Department responded by filing a Motion to Dismiss in Lieu of
an Answer, arguing inter alia that several of
Pratt's claims were barred by res judicata and
failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted.
Motion to Dismiss, Dkt. No. 9. The Court granted the Motion
to Dismiss without leave to amend with respect to all
state-law claims previously adjudicated in the 2012 and 2015
Lawsuits. April 2018 Order, Dkt. No. 16. The Court also
granted Pratt leave to amend his Title VII claims.
8, 2018, in accordance with the Court's April 2018 Order,
Pratt filed a First Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 18. In the
FAC, Pratt asserted three claims against DPS:
1) Retaliation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000, et seq. (“Title VII”)
(“Count I”; FAC ¶¶35-38);
2) Sexually Hostile Work Environment, in violation of Title
VII, (“Count II”; FAC ¶¶39-42); and
3) Sex Discrimination, in violation of Title VII,
(“Count III”; FAC ¶¶43-49).
time, the Department moved for judgment on the pleadings.
First MJOP, August 3, 2018, Dkt. No. 24. The Court granted
the First MJOP with respect to all three claims, but once
again, granted Pratt leave to amend. November 8, 2018 Order,
Dkt. No. 33.
SAC, filed on December 8, 2018, Pratt reasserted Title VII
retaliation and sex discrimination claims. SAC, Dkt. No. 34.
In support of both claims, Pratt alleged the following:
a. In April 2017, DPS converted Plaintiff's job title
from Office Assistant to Parole Officer III at the Hawaii
b. On November 22, 2017, Ed Hyun, the chairman of the Hawaii
Paroling Authority, issued a notice of unsatisfactory
performance to Pratt, informing Pratt that his work
performance did not meet established performance
c. In the ensuing three months, beginning in November 2017,
Pratt's supervisor, Corey Reinke, subjected Pratt to
onerous and unnecessary scrutiny, requiring him and his union
steward to meet with Reinke every Friday for 30 to 40 minutes
to review Pratt's work. These weekly meetings denied
and/or interfered with Pratt's ability to perform his job
as a Parole Officer.
See SAC ¶¶31-48.
In addition, in support of his sex discrimination claim,
Pratt alleged that:
d. On December 29, 2016, DPS took Pratt's Sheriff's
badge away from him, which prevented him from performing his
regular duties as a Deputy Sheriff, and essentially left him
with nothing to do.
e. On February 1, 2017, DPS demoted Pratt from Deputy Sheriff
to Office Assistant III in the Hawaii Paroling Authority.
SAC ¶¶30(a), (b).
“direct and proximate result” of this collective
wrongful conduct, Pratt alleges that he sustained damages.
SAC ¶54. The SAC therefore requests “back pay,
front pay, compensatory damages, special damages, and general
damages, together with costs of suit, ” and
“reasonable attorneys' fees, ” among other
things. SAC ¶¶54, 60.
the Court is the Department's January 17, 2019 MJOP. Dkt.
No. 38. Following a hearing on the MJOP on March 8, 2019
(see EP, Dkt. No. 48), the Court ordered limited
supplemental briefing to address the question of what
documents submitted by the movant in its MJOP can properly be
considered by the Court. Supplemental briefing was completed
by both parties on March 15, 2019. Dkt. Nos. 49, 50.
Thereafter, the Court took matters under advisement. This
for Judgment ...