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Rubio v. Hyatt Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 8, 2017

KIYOKO RUBIO
v.
HYATT CORPORATION, ET AL.

         SECTION: “J” (2)

          ORDER AND REASONS NATURE OF MOTION AND RELIEF REQUESTED

          CARL J. BARBIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Hyatt Corporation, C.R. Contractors, LLC, and Maritza Romero's (collectively “Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss. (Rec. Doc. 9.) Plaintiff, Kiyoko Rubio, filed an opposition to the motion. (Rec. Doc. 14.) Having considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be DENIED.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This action arises from Plaintiff's employment with C.R. Contractors, LLC, a company that provides room attendants and other hotel staff to several hotels in the New Orleans area.[1] C.R. Contractors, LLC assigned Plaintiff to Hyatt Corporation's Hyatt House as a room attendant from approximately February 2, 2016, to June 20, 2016. On June 14, 2016, personnel from C.R. Contractors and the Hyatt House called Plaintiff into a meeting where she was promoted to a supervisory position within the Hyatt House. Those in attendance included Maritza Romero, president and owner of C.R. Contractors, LLC, and Peggy Johnson, general manager of the Hyatt House. Plaintiff alleges that “[m]oments after being promoted, ” she informed Martiza Romero and Peggy Johnson that she was pregnant. (Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 7.) On June 20, 2016, six days after being promoted, Defendants allegedly terminated her because of her pregnancy. Maritza Romero allegedly called Plaintiff that same day and stated that “she did not like the decision that the Hyatt House took, but she had to follow orders.” (Rec. Doc. 1 ¶ 11.)

         On August 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants for pregnancy discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.[2] Defendants now move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Rec. Doc. 9.) Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion. (Rec. Doc. 14.) The motion is now before the Court on the briefs and without oral argument.

         PARTIES ARGUMENT

         Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6) claiming that the evidence demonstrates that no adverse employment action was taken against Plaintiff. Defendants attached several documents for the Court's consideration in support of its motion. These documents include an affidavit by Martiza Romero; email correspondence; and records from Martiza Romero's cellphone. Defendants argue that these materials may be considered by the Court because they are referred to in Plaintiff's complaint and are central to her claim. (Rec. Doc. 9-1 at 5.)

         Martiza Romero's affidavit states, in relevant part: (1) she was “well aware” of Plaintiff's pregnancy “at the time of Plaintiff's promotion”; (2) she informed Plaintiff on June 19, 2016, that Plaintiff would be laterally transferred from the Hyatt House to Hyatt Regency “due to Plaintiff having issues with other management at the Hyatt House”; (3) Hyatt Regency required Plaintiff to interview with management before she started working there as a supervisor; (4) she attempted to contact Plaintiff multiple times on June 22 and 23, 2016 by call and text to no avail in order to schedule the interview; (5) Plaintiff did not return her calls or texts; (6) Plaintiff was not terminated and was not discriminated against; and (7) Plaintiff was promoted because she was “doing such a good job” and also to accommodate Plaintiff's pregnancy “so that she would not have to clean rooms and exhaust herself.” See Rec. Doc. 9-2. The email correspondence includes four emails between Mimi Romero (Martiza Romero's daughter), Anitra Williams, and Maria Ruiz, dated June 22, 2016, discussing the need to set up an interview with Plaintiff for her supervisory role at the Hyatt Regency. See Rec. Doc. 9-3. Defendants do not identify Anitra Williams or Maria Ruiz. Defendants argue that this shows Plaintiff could not have been terminated as alleged on June 20, 2016. The cellphone records show multiple outgoing calls and text messages from Martiza Romero's cellphone to Plaintiff's purported cellphone on June 22 and 23, 2016. See Rec. Doc. 9-2. Defendants argue that this demonstrates that Plaintiff was not terminated on June 20, 2016, and that she stopped communicating and showing up for work.

         Plaintiff argues that the emails, cellphone records, and affidavit are improperly attached to the Rule 12 motion to dismiss and should not be considered by the Court. Plaintiff concedes that the thoughts and motives of Defendants are central to Plaintiff's claim, however, Plaintiff argues that the materials are self-serving depictions that should not be admitted at this stage of the litigation. Alternatively, if the motion is converted into a motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff requests that the Court grant her more time for additional discovery pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d).

         DISCUSSION

         (1) Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary Judgment?

         While courts typically cannot consider evidence outside of the pleadings in the context of a motion to dismiss, a court may consider “documents incorporated into the complaint by reference.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has established that a court's consideration of documents attached to a motion to dismiss is limited “to documents that are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are central to the plaintiff's claim.” Scanlan v. Tex. A & M Univ., 343 F.3d 533, 536 (5th Cir. 2003) (emphasis added) (citation omitted).

         A district court may, in its discretion, treat a motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment and consider evidence outside of the pleadings. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d); Soley v. Star & Herald Co., 390 F.2d 364, 366 (5th Cir. 1968). “If, on a motion under 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). “When a party bases a motion to dismiss on matters outside the pleadings, the court has discretion either to accept the extraneous material and convert the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, or to decide the motion, as defendant styled it, under the principles of Rule 12(b)(6).” McDonald v. Kansas City S. Ry. Co., 16-15975, 2017 WL 1709353, at *2 (E.D. La. May 3, 2017) (citations omitted). This discretion is exercised based on a determination of whether the ...


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