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Smith v. Caesars Entertainment Corp.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 1, 2019



          Gloria M. Navarro, District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are the Motions to Dismiss, (ECF Nos. 11, 12, 14, 16), filed by Defendants Caesars Entertainment Corporation (“Caesars”) d/b/a Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino (“Planet Hollywood”), Ethan Thomas (“Thomas”), and Shannon Pierce (“Pierce”) (collectively “Defendants”). Plaintiff Latonia Smith (“Plaintiff”) filed Responses, (ECF Nos. 50, 55), and Defendants filed Replies, (ECF Nos. 60, 61, 63).[1]

         Also pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Consolidate Cases, (ECF No. 48). Plaintiff filed Responses, (ECF Nos. 54, 59), and Defendants filed Replies, (ECF Nos. 62, 65).

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part, without prejudice, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and DENIES without prejudice Defendants' Motion to Consolidate.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In November 2017, Caesars and Planet Hollywood suspended and then terminated Plaintiff's mother, Annecer Peruzar, from employment as a Guest Room Attendant at their hotels. (First Am. Compl. (“FAC”) ¶¶ 1-3, ECF No. 1-1). Caesars and Planet Hollywood took these actions against Peruzar for stealing a tip left in a guest's hotel room, though Plaintiff alleges the termination arose from Peruzar's African American status and a disdain for Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 20).

         Following Peruzar's termination, Caesars and Planet Hollywood began receiving “hateful messages” under the guise of various aliases “pretending to be the ‘children of Mrs. Peruzar.'” (Id. ¶ 22). Plaintiff alleges that, based on the erroneous belief that these messages came from Plaintiff and Peruzar's other children, Caesars and Planet Hollywood began spreading false information about Plaintiff and accusing her of various crimes. (Id. ¶¶ 23-24).

         Plaintiff states that Caesars and Planet Hollywood eventually brought a lawsuit against Plaintiff in March 2018 to further harass and retaliate against her. (Id. ¶¶ 29, 81-86). As an example of this retaliation, Plaintiff alleges that Caesars and Planet Hollywood sought temporary protective orders against her based on a “personal, non-threatening letter” that she sent through Facebook to the CEO of Caesars concerning her mother's termination and the false accusations. (Id. ¶¶ 25, 29). This lawsuit against Plaintiff resulted in a confidential settlement; but, according to Plaintiff, Defendants continued to assert false allegations against her. (Id. ¶ 33).

         Plaintiff also alleges that when Peruzar filed her own lawsuit against Caesars and Planet Hollywood based on her termination, Shannon Pierce and Ethan Thomas (as attorneys for Caesars and Planet Hollywood) engaged in retaliatory actions against Plaintiff during and after legal proceedings. She claims that these attorneys taunted her, made derogatory remarks and threats, and disclosed confidential information about her and her mother. (Id. ¶¶ 34, 38-39, 40- 42).

         Based on Defendants' alleged actions, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against them in the District Court for Clark County, Nevada. Plaintiff alleges that even after she filed her lawsuit, Caesars took further action against her by banning her from “all current and future properties” due to her race. (Id. ¶¶ 94-98). Accordingly, Plaintiff currently alleges six claims against Defendants through her First Amended Complaint: (1) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (2) defamation; (3) slander; (4) abuse of process; (5) malicious prosecution; and (6) race-discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000a and Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”) 651.070, 651.080, and 651.090. (Id. ¶¶ 60-102). Defendants removed the case to this Court on May 20, 2019, based on federal-question jurisdiction due to Plaintiff's federal race-discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. § 2000a. (Pet. Removal, ECF No. 1). After removal, Defendants filed their instant Motions to Dismiss, (ECF Nos. 11, 12, 14, 16).[2]


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) mandates that a court dismiss a cause of action that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See N. Star Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 581 (9th Cir. 1983). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, dismissal is appropriate only when the complaint does not give the defendant fair notice of a legally cognizable claim and the grounds on which it rests. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In considering whether the complaint is sufficient to state a claim, the Court will take all material allegations as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See NL Indus., Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir. 1986).

         The Court, however, is not required to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences. See Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). A formulaic recitation of a cause of action with conclusory allegations is not sufficient; a plaintiff must plead facts showing that a violation is plausible, not just possible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         A court may also dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Hearns v. San Bernardino Police Dept., 530 F.3d 1124, 1129 (9th Cir. 2008). Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a plaintiff's complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Prolix, confusing complaints” should be ...

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