Court dismisses PlayStation gender discrimination lawsuit

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A lawsuit filed against Sony last year, accusing PlayStation of “pay differentials, wrongful termination and other instances of gender discrimination.” was dismissed by the United States District Court of North California.

When noted by axiosa decision released today has granted PlayStation’s “Motion to Dismiss” with the most important section (emphasis mine):

Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (FAC) has thirteen claims: a class action on her own behalf and a nationwide class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as amended by the Equal Pay Act; six state class actions on its own behalf and one California class action lawsuit; a claim for himself and both classes under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 USC § 2201; and five individual claims under state law. Sony moved to dismiss the FAC pursuant to Code 12(b)(6) of Civil Procedure, primarily on the ground that the plaintiff alleges only unenforceable ordinary employment and therefore makes no plausible claims. It also requested that the claims under Rule 12(f) be deleted on the grounds that the allegations were “highly individual” and did not establish that a class or class action was procedurally appropriate.

The court grants the motion to dismiss (with leave to amend) for most of the claims because the allegations are mostly conclusive, but the following individual claims survive: statutory and common law wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation under Cal. Laboratory. Code § 1102.5(b) and retaliation under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). However, since the court dismisses the federal claim, it does not have jurisdiction over the state claims and therefore dismisses all claims. The court dismisses the strike motion without prejudice, as it is premature to decide on the basis of an insufficiently substantiated complaint.

In making this decision, the court finds that former PlayStation employee Emma Majo has not fully explained her allegations in most cases, noting in one case that “the plaintiff merely enumerated the elements of the claim and did not allege any specific facts ‘ and in another that their claims were not ‘plausibly founded’.

However, it is important to note that this is not the end of the story. While most of the thirteen lawsuits against PlayStation in this case were dismissed, the court recognizes that three – all falling under state law – were allowed, viz the added testimonies of eight women (as we reported last month) mean “The allegations of the plaintiff are still in flux”.

“These statements may lead to new allegations,” the ruling adds, before concluding that “plaintiff may file a second amended complaint within 28 days,” essentially stating that the court may dismiss that particular lawsuit dismissed due to Majo’s allegations, but will look to initiate another when/if a second complaint is filed that includes these eight additional testimonies from the outset so that they can be fully examined. Court dismisses PlayStation gender discrimination lawsuit

Curtis Crabtree

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