Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Odyssey Healthcare, Inc.

Filing 6

ORDER GRANTING 3 Motion to Intervene. Signed by Judge Xavier Rodriguez. (ga)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS SA N ANTONIO DIVISION E Q U A L EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY C O M M ISS IO N , P l a i n t if f , v. O D Y SSEY HEALTHCARE, INC. f/d/b/a VISTACARE, INC. D efendant. C IV IL ACTION NO. S A -0 9 -C V -7 9 6 -X R OR DER B efore the Court is Aless D. Menchaca's Motion for Leave to Intervene (docket no. 3). After co ns iderin g the motion and applicable law, the Court grants the motion. I. Statement of the Case T he Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought the current action against O d y ss ey Healthcare, Inc. (Odyssey), on September 29, 2009. The EEOC filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to correct u n law fu l employment practices and to provide relief to Aless D. Menchaca. In its complaint, the EEOC allege s that Odyssey discriminated against Menchaca based on his national origin and acted in re ta lia tio n for his engaging in protected activity. On or about February 20, 2008, Menchaca, who was employed at Odyssey's Kerrville, Texas facility, filed a verbal complaint with his employer's Human Resources Director. In this complaint, M enchaca claimed that his supervisor was attempting to fire him and had made racial slurs directed to w a rd him. On March 20, 2008, Defendant terminated Menchaca's employment. Menchaca and the E E O C claim he was terminated in retaliation for Menchaca's prior complaints of discrimination. The EEOC seeks permanent injunctions enjoining Odyssey from discriminating based on n atio n al origin and from engaging in retaliation for conduct protected by Title VII. It also seeks m onetary relief that would make Menchaca whole, compensation for past and future pecuniary losses, co m pe ns ation for past and future non-pecuniary losses, and punitive damages for engaging in discrim inatory practices. M enchaca seeks an intervention of right pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C 2000e-5(f)(1). II. Legal Standards and Analysis U n d er the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, parties are permitted to voluntarily join a pending s uit, and courts generally construe this right broadly. See FED. R. CIV. P. 24. An intervention of right re qu ire s that the party show that a federal statute gives them an unconditional right to intervene in the action . FED. R. CIV. P. 24(a)(1). In Title VII cases brought by the EEOC, the individuals on whose be ha lf the case is brought have such an unconditional right under 42 U.S.C.A. 2000e-5(f)(1). The S u p re m e Court has held that if the EEOC files suit on its own, the statutory scheme prevents the em ployee from bringing a separate federal cause of action for a violation of Title VII while the EEOC's action is pending, but the employee may intervene in the EEOC's suit. See EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 53 4 U.S. 279, 291 (2002); see also EEOC v. Woodmen, 479 F.3d 561, 570 (8th Cir. 2007)("an em ployee indisputably has a right to intervene in an EEOC enforcement action."). Thus, Menchaca ha s satisfied the unconditional right requirement of Rule 24. See FED. R. CIV. P. 24(a)(1). A motion to intervene must also be timely filed. See FED. R. CIV. P. 24(b)(3). In order to d ete rm in e whether the motion to intervene is timely, the court considers the length of time between the in te rv en o r's learning of his interest and filing, the prejudice to the defendant from intervention, the pre jud ice to the intervenor from a denial of intervention, and any unusual circumstances. In re Lease Oil Antitrust Litigation, 570 F.3d 244, 247-48 (5th Cir. 2009). This suit has been pending only two m o n th s, and Menchaca claims to have only recently learned of the suit. Odyssey should not be p reju d iced because Menchaca's claims are identical to those of the EEOC and involve the same tran sactio n s. Further, "during the pendency of the EEOC's enforcement action, the statutory scheme 2 prevents [Menchaca] from bringing a separate federal cause of action." Woodmen, 479 F.3d at 568. A ccordingly, intervention is proper. III. Conclusion IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Aless Menchaca's Motion for Leave to Intervene (docket entry no. 3) is GRANTED. It is so ORDERED. S IG N E D this 18th day of December, 2009. _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ X A V IE R RODRIGUEZ U N IT E D STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 3

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