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Folk v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 1, 2013

AKIKO FOLK and RANK FOLK, husband and wife, Plaintiff,
v.
PETCO ANIMAL SUPPLIES STORES, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint (Dkt. 4). On June 11, 2011, Akiko Folk filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination by the Defendant Petco Animal Supplies Store, Inc. ("Petco"). Dkt. 4, Exhibit A. In the complaint, Folk alleged that shortly after she was hired by Petco in September of 2010 her manager began harassing her and making derogatory comments about her race and national origin. Dkt 1, ¶ 7-8. Folk stated the harassment worsened over time, and though she complained several times, no action was taken to remedy the situation. Folk voluntarily terminated her employment with Petco in April of 2011. Id. The EEOC investigated Folk's claim and granted Folk the right to sue in December of 2012, but declined to bring a suit against Petco itself. Dkt. 1, p. 11.

On March 14, 2013, Akiko Folk, with her husband, Randy Folk, filed suit against Petco in this Court, asserting eleven different claims for relief: (1) hostile work environment, (2) retaliation, (3) gender discrimination, and (4) constructive discharge, all in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq; (5) hostile work environment, (6) retaliation, (7) gender discrimination, and (8) constructive discharge, all in violation of I.C. § 67-5901 et seq; (9) negligent hiring and/or supervision, (10) negligence per se, and (11) intentional infliction of emotional harm. Dkt. 1.

On April 19, 2013, Petco moved to dismiss Randy Folk from the suit, and to dismiss Counts Three and Five through Eleven of the initial complaint. That motion is now before the Court. Dkt. 4.

ANALYSIS

Petco's motion appears to invoke three different provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. First, Petco seeks dismissal of Randy Folk from the suit. The Court has interpreted this motion as a motion to dismiss for misjoinder pursuant to Rule 21. Second, Petco has moved for dismissal of Counts Three and Five through Eight, under Rule 12(b)(1), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Third, Petco has moved for dismissal of Counts Nine through Eleven under Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim under which relief may be granted.

1. DISMISSAL OF RANDY FOLK

Petco has moved for the removal of Randy Folk from this suit because his claims fail as a matter of law. The Court has interpreted this motion as a motion to dismiss for misjoinder pursuant to Rule 21.

A court may drop a party from an action, on its own accord or upon a motion by either party, if the court finds misjoinder of the party. R. 21, Fed.R.Civ.P. A court should find misjoinder if a party has either failed to satisfy the conditions of permissive joinder under Rule 20(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or if "one of several plaintiffs does not seek any relief against defendant and is without any real interest in the controversy." § 1683 What Constitutes Misjoinder and Nonjoinder, 7 Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 1683 (3d ed.).

In the immediate case, Randy Folk has not made any claims for relief against Petco. Beyond being the husband of plaintiff Akiko Folk, Randy Folk has no interest in this suit. The Court therefore finds Randy Folk was misjoined and should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

2. DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

A federal district court must dismiss a claim if it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Federal Courts have the power to adjudicate employment discrimination actions brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 1235 (2006). However, a district court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over an EEOC claim, or a related Idaho state claim, unless the plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies before seeking judicial action. See Fundukian v. United Blood Services, 18 Fed.Appx. 572 (9th Cir. 2001), I.C.A. § 67-5908(2)(2013)("A complaint must be filed with the commission as a condition precedent to litigation."), Bryant v. City of Blackfoot, 48 P.3d 636 (Idaho 2002). To exhaust her administrative remedies, a plaintiff must file a timely complaint with the EEOC, or applicable Fair Employment Practices Agency ("FEPA"), and allow the agency to "investigate, attempt conciliation, and, if necessary, engage the ...


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