United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Lynchburg Division
K. MOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
brought claims against Defendant for failure to hire under
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”). Defendant BWXT Government Group, Inc.
(“BWXT”) has filed a motion to dismiss, arguing
that a valid severance agreement (“the
Agreement”) between the parties containing a
reemployment waiver precludes Plaintiff's claims.
Alternatively, Defendant argues in a motion to strike that
any allegations of discriminatory conduct predating the
agreement and any claim for compensatory damages should be
stricken from the complaint.
the text of the Agreement, this Court finds that Plaintiff
did not waive his right to assert future failure to hire
claims. The best interpretation of the relevant language is
that Plaintiff agreed to waive reemployment claims stemming
from his termination, but not the right to seek future
employment nor any claims emanating from that right.
Therefore, Defendant's motion to dismiss will be denied.
motion to strike will be denied in part and granted in part.
Defendant's request to strike language relating to
discrimination prior to the Agreement will be denied because
such language is potentially relevant in several ways and not
unduly prejudicial. Defendant's motion to strike language
relating to compensatory damages under the ADEA will be
granted, as such damages are unavailable.
Facts as Alleged
was employed by the Babcock & Wilcox Company
(“B&W”) as a purchasing agent beginning in
November of 2011. (Dkt. 1 at 3). BWXT is an affiliate of the
B&W. (Id.). Much of Plaintiff's work
involved a company named Generation mPower, LLC, which is
structured as an affiliate between BWXT and Bechtel Power
Company. (Id.). Beginning in April of 2014,
Generation mPower began a series of Reductions in Force
(“RIFs”). (Id. at 4). Sensing the
“dismantling” of his group, Plaintiff began to
apply to other similar positions at B&W soon after the
RIFs began. (Id. at 4-5).
December 8, 2014, as part of the third RIF, Plaintiff
received and executed the Agreement, ending his employment at
B&W. (Id. at 6). In exchange for consideration
valued at approximately $10, 000, Plaintiff agreed, in
essence, to waive all claims against B&W, including any
claims under the ADEA. (See dkt. 7-1). The parties
do not contest that Plaintiff waived all claims that existed
prior to the December 8th agreement. (See dkt. 1 at
6 n.2). The parties dispute, however, the effect of the
Agreement on Plaintiff's subsequent failure to hire
claims. The following two, potentially contradictory
sentences in the Agreement form the basis of this
I understand that I am also waiving any claim to
reinstatement or reemployment by B&W. I also understand
that this Release does not apply to any claim arising after
the effective date of this Agreement . . . .
days after signing the Agreement, Plaintiff was contacted by
B&W to perform work on a contract basis, which he did for
three months. (Dkt. 1 at 7). Additionally, Plaintiff
continued to apply to positions at B&W, including
applying to a position a mere nine days after signing the
Agreement. (Dkt. 1-2). Plaintiff filed twenty applications in
total after signing the Agreement, but was not hired to any
filed suit against Defendant, asserting failure to hire
claims under the ADEA. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss
arguing that the language of the Agreement (“I am also
waiving any claim to reinstatement or reemployment by
B&W”) precluded any failure to hire claims by
Standard of Review a. Motion to Dismiss for
Failure to State a Claim
evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded
allegations. See Vitol, S.A. v. Primerose Shipping
Co., 708 F.3d 527, 539 (4th Cir. 2013); see also
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). “While
a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations and quotation marks
omitted). Stated differently, in order to survive a motion to
dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Motion to Strike
parties disagree over the correct standard of review for a
motion to strike, so it is worth discussing in some depth.
Additionally, as one district court in the Fourth Circuit has
noted: “[o]ur court of appeals has never had occasion
to address the Rule 12(f) standard at length.” City