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Velazquez v. Courtyard Management Corp.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 9, 2018

ANGELINA VELAZQUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
COURTYARD MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          STACIE F. BECKERMAN United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Angelina Velazquez (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Courtyard Management Corporation (“Defendant”) alleging claims of discrimination, retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6) along with an alternative motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Rule 56. (Def. Mot. to Dismiss.)

         This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367. For the reasons that follow, the district judge should grant Defendant's summary judgment motion.

         BACKGROUND [1]

         Plaintiff worked for Defendant until November 6, 2007. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1; Reynolds Decl., Ex. A at 2.) During her employment, Plaintiff suffered a chemical exposure that caused health problems. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1.)

         Plaintiff filed discrimination charges against Defendant and its parent company, Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”), with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (“BOLI”). (Reynolds Decl., Ex. A at 2.) On November 10, 2008, Plaintiff and Marriott signed a settlement agreement. (Id.) Plaintiff was represented by counsel. (Pl. Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss.)

         Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Plaintiff agreed to release Marriott and its subsidiaries from all claims “arising out of her employment or the separation thereof with Marriott.” (Reynolds Decl., Ex. A at 2.) The release explicitly covered claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”), 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq. (Id. at 3.)

         Plaintiff experienced new and worsening symptoms after signing the agreement. (Am. Compl. ¶ 6.) She filed the current action on July 15, 2016, raising claims under Title VII, the ADA, OSHA, and Oregon state tort law. (SeeCompl.; Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-37.) Plaintiff asserts that she agreed to the 2008 settlement based on false information provided by her attorney. (Pl. Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss at 1.) She states “I asked my lawyer if [Marriott's settlement] payment was for the injury I suffered. He said no, that this was only for the fact that I was fired and that my injury was separate.” (Id.) Plaintiff continues, “I recently discovered the truth because I placed a request that the company show me the papers from my case. These papers showed that the sum of money from the company was for both my injury and for my unjust fire.” (Id. at 1-2.)

         In addition to the release provision, the agreement also states “[i]f either party brings and prevails upon any legal action resulting from any breach of this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover all costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees” incurred. (Reynolds Decl., Ex. A at 3-4.) Defendant's motion seeks to enforce the settlement agreement, dismiss Plaintiff's claims, and award Defendant attorney's fees. (Def. Mot. to Dismiss at 8-9, 14-15.)

         ANALYSIS

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Generally, a district court must decide a Rule 12(b)(6) motion based only on the material contained in the pleadings. Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 543 (9th Cir. 1994). A document is “contained in” the complaint “if the complaint specifically refers to the document and if its authenticity is not questioned.” Id. If the court considers materials outside of the pleadings to resolve a dispositive issue, it must treat the motion as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. Rosales v. United States, 824 F.2d 799, 802 (9th Cir 1987).

         Summary judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). On a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Porter v. Cal. Dep't of Corr., 419 F.3d 885, 891 (9th Cir. 2005). The court does not assess the credibility of witnesses, weigh evidence, or determine the truth of matters in dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         II. ...


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