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Kamakeeaina v. Armstrong Produce, Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 15, 2019

BUDDY P. KAMAKEEAINA, Plaintiff,
v.
ARMSTRONG PRODUCE, LTD., Defendant.

          ORDER (1) GRANTING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE; (2) DENYING AS MOOT MOTION TO DISMISS; AND (3) REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO FILE A CONSOLIDATED COMPLAINT

          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.

         On December 7, 2018, Plaintiff Buddy P. Kamakeeaina, proceeding pro se, filed, in federal court, a complaint against Armstrong Produce, Ltd., alleging that he was not hired for a position with Armstrong due to disability and age in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“No. 18-cv-480”). On January 9, 2019, Kamakeeaina, proceeding pro se, filed, in state court, a complaint against Armstrong, alleging that he was not hired for a position with Armstrong due to disability and age in violation of the Hawai‘i Fair Employment Practices Act (HFEPA), as well as the Rehabilitation Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) (“the State Case”). On March 29, 2019, Armstrong removed the State Case to this Court on the basis of federal question and supplemental jurisdiction (“No. 19- cv-158”). Dkt. No. 1. Soon thereafter, Armstrong filed a motion to consolidate No. 18-cv-480 and No. 19-cv-158, Dkt. No. 8, and a motion to dismiss the complaint filed in the State Case, Dkt. No. 7. Because the facts alleged in No. 18-cv-480 and No. 19-cv-158 are the same, the Court grants the motion to consolidate. Further, in order to more efficiently consolidate the two cases, to the extent allowed below, the Court instructs Kamakeeaina to file a consolidated complaint. As a result, the motion to dismiss is denied as moot.

         BACKGROUND

         I. No. 18-cv-480

         As the Court described in an Order dated March 22, 2019 in No. 18-cv-480 (“the March 22, 2019 Order”), Kamakeeaina asserted claims under at least four federal statutes, together with a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Under the Age Discrimination Act and the ADEA, Kamakeeaina asserted claims of age discrimination. The majority of the complaint, though, was dedicated to claims under the ADA. Kamakeeaina alleged that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. After Armstrong made Kamakeeaina a conditional offer of employment, he was required to, among other things, pass an on-site drug test. Kamakeeaina also had a subsequent interview with Armstrong's Human Resources Director Marlene McKenzie (McKenzie). At that interview, Kamakeeaina told McKenzie that he was registered under Hawaii's Medical Cannabis Program. After continued conversation between the two, McKenzie told Kamakeeaina that, if his drug test was positive, Armstrong would need to withdraw its employment offer. Thereafter, Kamakeeaina said to McKenzie that he was “prepared to have the offer taken off the table.” After further conversation, but without McKenzie administering a drug test, she withdrew Kamakeeaina's employment offer. Based upon his conversation with McKenzie, as well as her conduct, Kamakeeaina alleged that a host of statutory provisions under the ADA were violated. Principally, though, the complaint alleged a failure-to-hire claim under the ADA. The Complaint also attempted to allege violations of the Rehabilitation Act, based on the same events.

         In the March 22, 2019 Order, the Court granted in part and denied in part Armstrong's motion to dismiss, allowing Kamakeeaina to amend only certain claims. Specifically, Kamakeeaina was granted leave to amend his claims under: (1) the ADA for (i) an alleged violation of Section 12203(b), and (ii) failure to provide a reasonable accommodation; and (2) the Rehabilitation Act for an alleged violation of Section 794(a). The complaint was dismissed with prejudice as to Kamakeeaina's claims: (1) under the Age Discrimination Act; (2) under the ADA for alleged violations of (i) Section 12112(d)(2)(A), (ii) Section 12112(d)(3)(B), (iii) Section 12112(b)(7), and (iv) Section 12112(b)(6); (3) under the Rehabilitation Act for an alleged violation of Section 793(a); (4) under the Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA), if any; and (5) for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The motion to dismiss was denied with respect to Kamakeeaina's claims under the ADA for a failure to hire and for an alleged violation of Section 12112(b)(1). In addition, Armstrong did not seek dismissal with respect to any claim under the ADEA.

         II. No. 19-cv-158

         In the instant complaint, the factual allegations follow an identical course as those in No. 18-cv-480. As in that case, the instant complaint alleges that Kamakeeaina suffers from PTSD and depression. After Armstrong made Kamakeeaina a conditional offer of employment, he was required to, among other things, pass an on-site drug test. Kamakeeaina also had a subsequent interview with McKenzie. At that interview, Kamakeeaina told McKenzie that he was registered under Hawai‘i's Medical Cannabis Program. After continued conversation between the two, McKenzie told Kamakeeaina that, if his drug test was positive, Armstrong would need to withdraw its employment offer. Thereafter, Kamakeeaina said to McKenzie that he was “prepared to have the offer taken off the table.” After further conversation, but without McKenzie administering a drug test, she withdrew Kamakeeaina's employment offer.

         The main difference between No. 18-cv-480 and No. 19-cv-158 is that, in the instant case, rather than primarily relying upon the ADA, the complaint primarily relies upon the HFEPA, appearing to assert a number of claims thereunder. Again, though, the principal claim is a failure to hire. The instant complaint, like the complaint in No. 18-cv-480, also quotes verbatim from various other statutes, including the DFWA, Title VII, and the Rehabilitation Act. Some of the quoted statutes-e.g., the DFWA and the Rehabilitation Act-are quoted in the same fashion in both cases.

         Armstrong has moved to dismiss all but two of the claims that it has construed from the instant complaint on the grounds of claim preclusion and failure to state a claim (“the Motion to Dismiss”).[1] Dkt. No. 7-1. Armstrong has also moved to consolidate the two cases. Dkt. No. 8.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Consolidation

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), a court may consolidate actions involving a common question of law or fact. A court has broad discretion in making this decision, and, in doing so, should weigh “the saving of time and effort consolidation would produce against any inconvenience, delay, or ...


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