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Williams v. TLC Casino Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 19, 2018

TLC CASINO ENTERPRISES, INC. et al., Defendants.


         Presently before the court is defendant TLC Casino Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Four Queens Hotel and Casino's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 9). Plaintiff Valarie Williams filed a response (ECF No. 10), to which defendant replied (ECF No. 15). Plaintiff also filed a supplemental response to defendant's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 16), to which defendant has not replied.

         I. Facts

         This is a class action brought by plaintiff and on behalf of all similarly situated individuals. Plaintiff filed her class action complaint with jury demand on November 7, 2017. (ECF No. 1). In her complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant “routinely . . . willfully and systematically” violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A)(i) by procuring consumer reports for employment purposes of plaintiff and other putative class members without “first making proper disclosures in the format required” by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 (2011) (the “FCRA”). Id. at 3.

         Specifically, plaintiff alleges that defendant obtained background reports for prospective and current employees, including plaintiff, in order to use the reports to make employment related decisions. (ECF No. 1 at 2). According to plaintiff, in violation of the FCRA, defendant failed to provide her with a “stand-alone document of a legal disclosure” indicating that defendant was going to conduct a background check.[1] 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A)(i); (ECF Nos. 1, 10, 16). Plaintiff asserts that defendant instead provided plaintiff with a written conditional offer to hire that included, inter alia, the following statement: “Continuation of this position and your employment is dependent upon your passing any Background Check or Drug Screen that may be required for your position.” (ECF No. 1 at 4-5). Plaintiff seeks to represent “[t]housands of [d]efendant's prospective and existing employees” who received similar conditional offers of employment within the last five years. Id.

         Defendant moves to dismiss plaintiff's claims for lack of standing pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). (ECF No. 9).

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). “A federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears.” Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows defendants to seek dismissal of a claim or action for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) is appropriate if the complaint, considered in its entirety, fails to allege facts on its face sufficient to establish subject matter jurisdiction. In re Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) Antitrust Litig., 546 F.3d 981, 984-85 (9th Cir. 2008).

         Although the defendant is the moving party in a 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff is the party invoking the court's jurisdiction. As a result, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the case is properly in federal court to survive the motion. McCauley v. Ford Motor Co., 264 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936)). More specifically, the plaintiff's pleadings must show “the existence of whatever is essential to federal jurisdiction, and, if [plaintiff] does not do so, the court, on having the defect called to its attention or on discovering the same, must dismiss the case, unless the defect be corrected by amendment.” Smith v. McCullough, 270 U.S. 456, 459 (1926).

         In moving to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the challenging party may either make a “facial attack, ” confining the inquiry to challenges in the complaint, or a “factual attack” challenging subject matter on a factual basis. Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., 343 F.3d 1036, 1039 n. 2 (9th Cir. 2003). For a facial attack, the court assumes the truthfulness of the allegations, as in a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Trentacosta v. Frontier Pac. Aircraft Indus., Inc., 813 F.2d 1553, 1559 (9th Cir. 1987). By contrast, when presented as a factual challenge, a Rule 12(b)(1) motion can be supported by affidavits or other evidence outside of the pleadings. U.S. v. LSL Biotechs., 379 F.3d 672, 700 n. 14 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing St. Clair v. City of Chicago, 880 F.2d 199, 201 (9th Cir. 1989)).

         If the court grants a motion to dismiss a complaint, it must then decide whether to grant plaintiff leave to amend. Lucatelli v. Texas De Brazil (Las Vegas) Corp., No. 2:11-CV-01829-RCJ, 2012 WL 1681394, at *2 (D. Nev., May 11, 2012). The court should “freely give” leave to amend where there is no “undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant . . . undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [or] futility of the amendment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962). Generally, leave to amend is only denied when it is clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot be cured by amendment. See DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992).

         III. Discussion

         The nexus of defendant's motion to dismiss centers around two theories. (ECF Nos. 9, 15). As a threshold matter, defendant asserts that plaintiff lacks Article III standing because, even if defendant failed to provide plaintiff with a “stand-alone document of a legal disclosure, ” at most, this amounted to a “bare procedural violation” of the FCRA, rather than a substantive issue. 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A)(i); (ECF Nos. 1, 10, 16). Defendant also asserts that, even if defendant's conditional offer of employment violated the FCRA (which defendant does not admit), plaintiff's claim still fails because plaintiff does not plausibly plead any concrete harm to herself. (ECF No. 9 at 2).

         Plaintiff responds that defendant's alleged violation of the FCRA regarding stand-alone documents for legal disclosures proffers standing to plaintiff and the putative class members because deprivation of the right to information and the right to privacy guaranteed ...

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