U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Global Horizons, Inc., Cv. No. 11–00257 DAE–RLP.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
Writing for the CourtDAVID ALAN EZRA
Citation860 F.Supp.2d 1172
PartiesU.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff, v. GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC. d/b/a Global Horizons Manpower, Inc.; Captain Cook Coffee Company Ltd.; Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii), Inc.; Kauai Coffee Company, Inc.,; Kelena Farms, Inc.; Mac Farms of Hawaii, LLC n/k/a MF Nut Co., LLC; Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd. a/k/a Maui Pineapple Farms; Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; Massimo Zanetti Beverage Usa, Inc.; and Does 1–15, Inclusive, Defendants.
Docket NumberCv. No. 11–00257 DAE–RLP.
Decision Date16 March 2012

860 F.Supp.2d 1172

U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC. d/b/a Global Horizons Manpower, Inc.; Captain Cook Coffee Company Ltd.; Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii), Inc.; Kauai Coffee Company, Inc.,; Kelena Farms, Inc.; Mac Farms of Hawaii, LLC n/k/a MF Nut Co., LLC; Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd. a/k/a Maui Pineapple Farms; Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; Massimo Zanetti Beverage Usa, Inc.; and Does 1–15, Inclusive, Defendants.

Cv. No. 11–00257 DAE–RLP.

United States District Court,
D. Hawai‘i.

March 16, 2012.


[860 F.Supp.2d 1176]


Anna Y. Park, Michael J. Farrell, Sue J. Noh, Thomas S. Lepak, Lorena Garcia–Bautista, Us Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Los Angeles, CA, for Plaintiff.

Amanda Marie Jones, Kristin S. Shigemura, Roy A. Vitousek, III, Cades Schutte, David W.H. Chee, Brooks Tom Porter & Quitiquit, Mark J. Bennett, Richard John Wallsgrove, Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher, Sarah O. Wang, Jennifer C.T. Woo, Sean K. Sanada, Marr Jones & Wang LLLP, Barbara A. Petrus, Anne T. Horiuchi, Carolyn K. Wong, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel LLLP, Honolulu, HI, Annie T. Zaffuto, Carol C. Lumpkin, K & L Gates, LLP, Miami, FL, Christopher J. Degroff, Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL, Laura J. Maechtlen, Seyfarth Shaw, San Francisco, CA, Dax B. Deason, Deason Law Group, P.C., Houston, TX, Jim Darnell, El Paso, TX, for Defendants.


ORDER: (1) DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO STRIKE; (2) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS; (3) GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT; AND (4) DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO SEVER WITHOUT PREJUDICE

DAVID ALAN EZRA, District Judge.

On March 12, 2012, the Court heard the United States' Motion to Intervene and Motion to Stay and the Moving Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Sever, and Motions to Strike. Sue J. Noh, Esq., Michael J. Farrell, Esq., and Lorena Garcia–Bautista, Esq., appeared on behalf of Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“Plaintiff” or “EEOC”); Amanda Marie Jones, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendant Captain Cook Coffee Company Ltd. (“Captain Cook”); David W.H. Chee, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendant Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii) (“Del Monte”); Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Esq., and Mark J. Bennet, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendants Kauai Coffee Company, Inc. (“Kauai Coffee”), Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (“A & B”), and Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, Inc. (“MZB”); Jim Darnell, Esq., and Sarah O. Wang, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendant Kelena Farms, Inc. (“Kelena Farms”); Barbara A. Petrus, Esq., Anne T. Horiuchi, Esq., and Carolyn K. Wong, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendant Mac Farms of Hawaii, LLC (“Mac Farms”); Christopher S. Yeh, Esq., appeared on behalf of Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd., (“Maui Pineapple”); and U.S. Attorney Florence T. Nakakuni appeared

[860 F.Supp.2d 1177]

on behalf of the United States. Additionally, Robert Moossy, Jr., Esq., and Daniel H. Weiss, Esq., made a special appearance by telephone on behalf of the U.S. Civil Rights Division and Randolph S. Shiner, Esq., made a special appearance by telephone on behalf of Mordechai Yosef Orian. After reviewing the Motions and the supporting and opposing memoranda, the Court DENIES Captain Cook, Del Monte, Kauai Coffee, Kelena Farms, Mac Farms, Maui Pineapple, A & B, and MZB's (collectively “Moving Defendants”) Motions to Strike, GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the Moving Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, GRANTS Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint, and DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE the Moving Defendants' Motions to Sever.

BACKGROUND
I. Factual Allegations

On April 19, 2011, EEOC filed the instant action for recovery pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title 1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 to correct allegedly unlawful employment practices on the basis of national origin, race, and retaliation. Plaintiff claims that Defendants engaged in discrimination and a pattern or practice of discrimination when they subjected Marut Kongpia, Nookrai Matwiset, Jakarin Phookhien, Mongkol Bootpasa, Janporn Suradanai, Suthat Promnonsri, Itthi Oa–Sot, and a class of similarly situated Thai and Asian individuals (collectively, “Claimants”) to harassment, disparate treatment, retaliation, and constructive discharge on the basis of the Claimants' national origin and race. ( See “SAC,” Doc. # 128.)

The Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) alleges that Defendant Global Horizons, Inc. (“Global”) 1 recruited foreign nationals under the U.S. Department of Labor H2–A guest worker program to work at farms in the United States, including farms owned by the Moving Defendants. Plaintiff alleges that Global used recruiters in Thailand to recruit Thai workers, and required them to pay substantial recruitment fees to be employed by Global. ( Id. ¶ 98.) Plaintiff further alleges that Global knew that the Claimants were impoverished and would have to borrow money, pledging family land as collateral, in order to pay the recruitment fees. ( Id.) Global allegedly “harassed and intimidated the Claimants on a regular basis” and “regularly threatened the Claimants with deportation, arrest, suspension, and/or physical violence.” ( Id. at 101–102.) According to Plaintiff, Global “unlawfully confiscated the Claimants' identification documents” and “subjected the Claimants to uninhabitable housing, insufficient food and kitchen facilities, inadequate pay, significant gaps in work, visa and certification violations, suspension, deportation and/or physical violence.” ( Id. at 104.) These “intolerable working conditions ... resulted in constructive discharge.” ( Id. at 107.) Plaintiff claims that these conditions created a hostile work environment and that the Claimants were subject to these conditions because of their national origin and race. ( Id. ¶¶ 479, 500.) Plaintiff also alleges that when Claimants complained of the unlawful employment practices, Global subjected them to “adverse employment actions including without limitation, discipline, transfers, threats, harassment, denial of transportation and food, and a hostile work environment.” ( Id. ¶ 532.) As a result of this alleged misconduct, Plaintiff claims that Global violated Sections 703(a) and 704(a) of Title

[860 F.Supp.2d 1178]

VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e–2(a), 2000e–3. ( Id. ¶¶ 479, 500, 517, 532.)

With respect to Defendants Captain Cook, Del Monte, Kauai Coffee, Kelena Farms, Mac Farms, Maui Pineapple, and A & B, Plaintiff alleges that each of them are joint employers with Global and jointly controlled the terms and conditions of employment of the Claimants. ( Id. ¶¶ 7–58.) Plaintiff further alleges that each of them knew or should have known about Global's alleged misconduct and/or engaged in their own discriminatory misconduct toward the Claimants. ( Id. ¶¶ 7–58, 132–475.) Additionally, with respect Defendant MZB, Plaintiff alleges that it is liable as a successor to A & B and/or Kauai Coffee. ( Id. ¶ 67.)

II. Procedural History

On April 19, 2011, Plaintiff filed its initial Complaint. (Doc. # 1.) On July 15, 2011, Plaintiff filed its First Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 12.) Between July 19, 2011 and September 19, 2011, each of the Moving Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint. (Docs. 20, 22, 29, 39, 46, 48.) On October 21, 2011, the EEOC filed a Motion to Stay this action pending the conclusion of the criminal proceedings involving employees of Defendant Global. (Doc. # 109.) The Motion to Stay was opposed by the Moving Defendants. (Doc. 111–112, 113–116.) On November 2, 2011, 2011 WL 5325747, the Court issued an Order granting a stay with respect to Defendant Global and denying a stay with respect to the Moving Defendants. (Doc. # 124.) The Court also dismissed the First Amended Complaint Without Prejudice as to the Moving Defendants. (Doc. # 124.)

On December 16, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 128.) On January 12, 2012, Captain Cook filed a Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint and a Motion to Sever all claims against Captain Cook. (Doc. 138, 140.) On January 13, 2012, Defendants Kauai Coffee, Maui Pineapple, Mac Farms, Del Monte, Kelena Farms, A & B, and MZB each filed its own Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. 141, 145, 146, 152, 153, 154, 155.) The same day, Defendants A & B, Kauai Coffee, and MZB filed a Motion to Strike and Motion to Sever. (Docs. 143, 144.) Their Motion to Strike was joined by Maui Pineapple, Captain Cook, and Mac Farms and joined in part by Kelena Farms and Del Monte. (Docs. 161, 163–166.) On January 19, 2012, Mac Farms also joined the Motions to Sever filed by Captain Cook, A & B, Kauai Coffee, and MZB. (Doc. # 161.) On February 10, 2012, Del Monte filed its own Motion to Sever. (Doc. # 171.)

On February 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to A & B, Kauai Coffee, and MZB's Motion to Strike. (Doc. # 179.) On February 17, 2012, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motions to Sever brought by Captain Cook, A & B, Kauai Coffee, MZB, Del Monte, and Mac Farms. (Doc. # 180.) That same day, Plaintiff also filed an Opposition to each of the Moving Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. 181, 184–187, 190, 193, 195.) On February 27, 2012, the Moving Defendants filed Replies in support of their respective Motions. (Docs. 201–215.)

As of the date of this Order, Defendant Global has not made an appearance in this action.

STANDARDS OF REVIEW

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule”), a motion to dismiss will be granted where the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Review is limited to the contents of the complaint. See Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754 (9th Cir.1994). A complaint may be dismissed

[860 F.Supp.2d 1179]

as a matter of law for one of two reasons: “(1) lack of a cognizable legal theory, or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal claim.” Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749...

To continue reading

Request your trial
32 practice notes
  • In re Conagra Foods Inc., Case No. CV 11–05379 MMM (AGRx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • November 15, 2012
    ...was sufficient to discharge her duty under Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Global Horizons, Inc., 860 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1180 (D.Haw.2012) (“In any event, even assuming that conciliation is a ‘condition precedent’ to suit by the EEOC, the Court concludes that t......
  • Page v. Tri–City Healthcare Dist., Case No. 12–CV–198 JLS (WMC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 19, 2012
    ...the plaintiff did not have Article III standing in considering preliminary injunction and remanding the complaint to state court) [860 F.Supp.2d 1172](citing cases). As noted above, Plaintiff's standing in this, or any Article III court, does not depend on his standing in state court, and “......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Case No. 4:11–cv–03425.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • October 23, 2012
    ...of isolated or accidental or sporadic discriminatory acts.’ ” [884 F.Supp.2d 514]EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc., No. 11–00257 DAE–RLP, 860 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1191, 2012 WL 928160, at *16 (D.Hawai'i March 16, 2012) (quoting Obrey v. Johnson, 400 F.3d 691, 694 (9th Cir.2005)). Rather, a “[p]laint......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunities Comm'n v. La Rana Haw., LLC, Civil No. 11–00799 LEK–BMK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • August 22, 2012
    ...has been embraced by several districts within the Ninth Circuit, including the District of Hawai'i in EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc., 860 F.Supp.2d 1172 (D.Hawai'i 2012), the Eastern District of California, the District of Nevada, and the Eastern District of Washington. [ Id. at 20–21 (some ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • In re Conagra Foods Inc., Case No. CV 11–05379 MMM (AGRx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • November 15, 2012
    ...was sufficient to discharge her duty under Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Global Horizons, Inc., 860 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1180 (D.Haw.2012) (“In any event, even assuming that conciliation is a ‘condition precedent’ to suit by the EEOC, the Court concludes that t......
  • Page v. Tri–City Healthcare Dist., Case No. 12–CV–198 JLS (WMC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 19, 2012
    ...the plaintiff did not have Article III standing in considering preliminary injunction and remanding the complaint to state court) [860 F.Supp.2d 1172](citing cases). As noted above, Plaintiff's standing in this, or any Article III court, does not depend on his standing in state court, and “......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Case No. 4:11–cv–03425.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • October 23, 2012
    ...of isolated or accidental or sporadic discriminatory acts.’ ” [884 F.Supp.2d 514]EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc., No. 11–00257 DAE–RLP, 860 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1191, 2012 WL 928160, at *16 (D.Hawai'i March 16, 2012) (quoting Obrey v. Johnson, 400 F.3d 691, 694 (9th Cir.2005)). Rather, a “[p]laint......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunities Comm'n v. La Rana Haw., LLC, Civil No. 11–00799 LEK–BMK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • August 22, 2012
    ...has been embraced by several districts within the Ninth Circuit, including the District of Hawai'i in EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc., 860 F.Supp.2d 1172 (D.Hawai'i 2012), the Eastern District of California, the District of Nevada, and the Eastern District of Washington. [ Id. at 20–21 (some ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT