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Lesane v. Hawaiian Airlines Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 9, 2019

REZA RAY LESANE, Plaintiff,
v.
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES, INC.; MARK DUNKERLY, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND THE CASE

          Jill A. Otake, United States District Judge.

         Defendant Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (“Defendant”) removed this action based on federal question jurisdiction and retention of jurisdiction over Lesane v. Hawaiian Airlines, Civil No. 98-00735 DAE-KSC (“Lesane I”). Plaintiff Reza Lesane (“Plaintiff”) seeks to remand this action to state court. For the reasons articulated below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Remand the Case.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff commenced this action on March 19, 2019 in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawai‘i. The Complaint asserts the following causes of action: (1) violations of State of Hawai‘i Fair Employment Act (Counts 1-4); (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count 5); (3) violation of the right to contract under the Hawai‘i Constitution (Count 6); and (4) breach of contract (Count 7). Notice of Removal (“Notice”), Ex. A. Although the causes of action are titled as state law claims, the Complaint contains multiple references to federal law:

7. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked to secure the protection of Civil Rights and to redress deprivation of rights, privileges, and immunities secured by: a) Article One of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, Sections Two, Five, Eight and Thirteen; b) The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Section 1; c) Commerce Clause, article 1, section 8, clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States; c) [sic] Chapters §378-2, §378-32 and §378-62 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes at seq. [sic] providing for injunctive relief and damages for discrimination in employment; and providing for the equal rights of citizens and all persons within the jurisdiction of the State of Hawaii in the United States. . . .
33. Applying an 18 year life time freeze upon Mr. Lesane in his new position of FAA safety inspection, is clearly improperly retaliatory and illegally perpetuates the illegal effects of past discrimination in violation of Griggs v. Duke Power Co. 401 U.S. supra @ 426, 91 S.Ct. at 851, 28 L.Ed.2d @ 161 and quoted in Rowe vs. General Motors Corp. 457 F.2d 345 @ 355, and NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION v. MORGAN, 536 U.S. 101 (2002). Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. v. Norris, 512 U.S. 246, 251 (1994). . .
60. These actions of both Defendants both breached Hawaiian' [sic] “Confidential” severance contract with Plaintiff Lesane and also violated the Plaintiff's Constitutional Right to make a contract under 42 U.S.C. 1981 [sic] . . . .
62. These actions of both Defendants breached Hawaiian' [sic] “Confidential” severance contract with Plaintiff Lesane signed in 2001, which contained a $300, 000.00 disclosure penalty, which Defendants Hawaiian Airlines and Dunkerly violated by contacting the F.A.A. and disparaging Plaintiff Lesane falsely and in breach of the Confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses as a part of the Defendants [sic] efforts to violate the Plaintiff's Constitutional Right to fair employment and to make a contract under Articles 2, 5, and 8 of the Hawaii State Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which breeches [sic] and disclosures caused Plaintiff to lose a promotion and raise of $20, 000.00 annually for which damages these defendants are responsible to compensate Plaintiff Lesane.

Id.

         Plaintiff effectuated service upon Defendant on March 22, 2019. Notice at ¶ 3. Defendant subsequently removed the action, asserting the following two bases for removal jurisdiction: (1) federal question jurisdiction and (2) retention of jurisdiction under Lesane I.

         On April 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed an Objection to Removal of Case from State Court and Motion to Remand the Case or in the Alternative Amend the Motion to Amend Complaint. ECF No. 9. The Court addresses Plaintiff's request to remand.[1]

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Section 1441(a) authorizes removal of an action by a defendant and provides:

(a) Generally.__ Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for ...

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