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Maple v. Rainbow's End Recovery Center, LLC

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 16, 2018

CRYSTAL MAPLE and DEREK STEPHENS, Plaintiffs,
v.
RAINBOW'S END RECOVERY CENTER, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company, ALY BRUNER, and NANCY DEL COLLETTI, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DAVID C. NYE U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE:

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Defendants Rainbow's End Recovery Center, LLC, Aly Bruner, and Nancy Del Colletti's[1] Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. 4. Also before the Court is Plaintiffs Crystal Maple and Derek Stephens' Motion to Continue Pursuant to Rule 56(d). Dkt. 8. Having reviewed this record herein, the Court finds the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the motion without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion to Continue and withholds ruling on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss at this time.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Many of the underlying facts of this case are not pertinent to this Motion; however, the Court will give a brief overview to put the matter at issue in context.

         Rainbow's End Recovery Center (“RERC”) does business as a residential addiction treatment facility in Challis, Idaho. Bruner and Del Colletti are husband and wife and co-own RERC. Del Colletti acts as the Executive Director and Bruner acts as the property manager. Maple and Stephens are husband and wife and both worked for RERC during the timeframe in question: Stephens as a chef, Maple as a night technician and housekeeper.

         Maple alleges that Bruner engaged in inappropriate conduct towards her during her employment with RERC. Maple maintains that on one occasion, on or about January 14, 2017, Bruner sexually battered her. Plaintiffs reported the incident to local law enforcement. Maple and Stephens subsequently determined that they could no longer work at RERC unless Del Colletti addressed these issues regarding Bruner's behavior towards Maple. According to Plaintiffs, Del Colletti refused. As a result of Bruner's conduct, and RERC and/or Del Colletti's failure to intervene, Maple alleges that RERC constructively discharged her in violation of law. Stephens also felt that due to the “hostile work environment, ” and Del Colletti's inaction, RERC constructively discharged him as well.

         On August 11, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their complaint in the instant suit alleging nine different state and federal causes of action. Many of these claims revolve around Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

         On November 6, 2017, prior to filing an answer or any other responsive pleading, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss asking the Court to dismiss all federal claims and to decline jurisdiction over the remaining state claims. Defendants point out that in Title VII actions an employer is only liable if it employs more than 15 people. Defendants maintain that RERC has never employed more than 15 people and, therefore, Plaintiffs' claims fail out the outset.

         In response to this Motion, Plaintiffs request that the Court either deny the Motion, or that the Court delay consideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) until appropriate discovery can be conducted to determine the number of RERC employees.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim challenges the legal sufficiency of the claims stated in the complaint. Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242 (9th Cir. 2011). “A complaint generally must satisfy the notice pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) to avoid dismissal under a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.” Id. (citing Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003)). “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

         To sufficiently state a claim for relief and survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the pleading “does not need detailed factual allegations;” however, the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. Mere “labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. Rather, there must be “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. In other words, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         In light of Twombly and Iqbal, the Ninth Circuit summarized the governing standard as follows: “In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the ...


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