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Channon v. Tavangar

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 7, 2019



         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Armada Group, Inc., Shelley Baca, Jennifer Ireland, and Jeff Tavangar (the “Armada Defendants”), on August 25, 2018 (Doc. 10). Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants' motion is well-taken and, therefore, is GRANTED.


         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se in this civil action, pled not guilty to, and was later convicted of, five counts of Wire Fraud in this Court. See United States of America v. Matthew Channon, 1:13-cr-00966-JCH/KK. The indictment was filed in that criminal case on March 27, 2013. Plaintiff was convicted on January 22, 2016, and the original criminal judgment was entered on November 4, 2016.

         Defendant Armada locates individuals who provide technical services and provides their services to tech companies. Plaintiff is apparently an iOS application developer, who entered into a contract with Armada to provide his technical services to TP-Link. The remaining Armada Defendants, Tavangar, Baca, and Ireland, are employees or officers of Armada.

         This case is before the Court on diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff asserts the following California state law claims:

Count 1: Violation of Cal. Lab. Code. 432.7(a) (against all Defendants)
Count 2: Interference with Contractual Relations (Against TP-Link)
Count 3: Interference with Contractual Relations (against Armada)
Count 4: Breach of Contract (against TP-Link)
Count 5: Breach of Contract (against Armada)
Count 6: Unconscionable Business Practices (against all Defendants except Natalie Gann and TP-Link)
Count 7: Civil Conspiracy (against all Defendants)

         A. Plaintiff's Allegations

         The following are allegations from Plaintiff's complaint, unless noted otherwise. Defendant Armada sent Plaintiff an offer letter on June 25, 2015, to start work at TP-Link's site in San Jose, California. After accepting the offer that day, Plaintiff agreed to undergo a background check and references check. Plaintiff asserts he complied with the request and furnished “a substantial amount of requested information.” Plaintiff started working on-site at TP-Link that day.

         After conducting a background check, the Armada Defendants apparently learned that there were pending felony charges against Plaintiff in this Court. Plaintiff received a number of calls from Defendant Shelly Baca on or about July 2, 2015, regarding the New Mexico criminal charges.

         Plaintiff agreed to a conference call with Defendants Jeff Tavangar and Shelley Baca that day. Plaintiff recorded the call. During the call, Defendants Tavangar and Baca asked for additional details regarding Plaintiff's pending charges. Plaintiff stated he had not been convicted of anything and recited to them California Labor Code 432.7(a). Plaintiff explained that he didn't disclose the pending charges prior to employment because he had only been asked if he had any convictions, and he stated he had no convictions.

         Defendant Tavangar stated on the call that the charges were a surprise, and that he had no choice but to consult with Defendant TP Link. Defendant Tavangar said that Armada was obligated under the contract to share the information with TP-Link. Defendant Tavangar also stated that Plaintiff is not an employee of Armada, and that Armada had contracted with Plaintiff's company, Loitery, LLC, not Plaintiff individually. Defendant Tavangar stated that he and Armada would consult with TP-Link and tell Plaintiff how they would proceed.

         Plaintiff returned to work on July 2, 2015 and continued to work on-site at TP-Link. On July 14, 2015, Plaintiff was called into a meeting with Defendants Gann and Ireland, directed to the leave the company laptop at his desk, and was fired without explanation. Plaintiff was allowed to gather his personal belongs and directed to leave his keys and leave the work-site. Later that day, Plaintiff received an email from Defendant Ireland, with a carbon-copy to Defendant Baca, stating “in follow up to our meeting with TP-Link HR, they have decided to terminate your engagement effective immediately. As such, your agreement with the Armada Group is terminated effective today.”

         Plaintiff alleges he was hired at rate of $105 hour, with a contract length of 7 months, for a sum of $124, 320. He alleges that TP-Link could have hired him at any point as an employee, provided they paid Armada a fee. In fact, he alleges that he was working as a full-time employee for Defendant TP-Link and an “implicit employment contract” existed between them.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants fired him for having pending criminal charges.

         B. Expr ...

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