Robles v. Agreserves, Inc., CASE NO. 1:14-CV-540 AWI JLT

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Citation158 F.Supp.3d 952
Decision Date27 January 2016
Docket NumberCASE NO. 1:14-CV-540 AWI JLT
Parties Juan Carlos Robles, Plaintiff v. Agreserves, Inc., et al., Defendants.

158 F.Supp.3d 952

Juan Carlos Robles, Plaintiff
Agreserves, Inc., et al., Defendants.

CASE NO. 1:14-CV-540 AWI JLT

United States District Court, E.D. California.

Signed January 27, 2016

158 F.Supp.3d 964

Ann Benin Guleser, Karl Gerber, Employment Lawyers Group, Sherman Oaks, CA, for Plaintiff.

Amy J. Osborne, Jeff T. Olsen, Gresham Savage Nolan and Tilden, Riverside, CA, Jamie E. Wrage, Richard D. Marca, Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden, San Bernardino, CA, for Defendants.

158 F.Supp.3d 965



This is an employment discrimination dispute between Plaintiff Juan Carlos Robles (“Robles”) and his former employer, Defendant Agreserves, Inc. (“Agreserves”), his former foreman Defendant George Campo (“Campo”),1 and his former manager Defendant Jay Payne (“Payne”). Robles alleges claims under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (“Title VII”) and California state law, including violations of the California Labor Code, common law intentional torts, common counts, and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code § 12900 et seq. ) (“FEHA”). The three Defendants separately move for summary judgment on all claims alleged against them. For the reasons that follow, the Defendants' motions will be granted in part and denied in part.


Summary judgment is proper when it is demonstrated that there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 ; Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co. , 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970) ; Fortyune v. American Multi–Cinema, Inc. , 364 F.3d 1075, 1080 (9th Cir.2004). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of identifying the portions of the declarations (if any), pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed. 2d 265 (1986) ; Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc. , 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir.2007). A fact is “material” if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248–49, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) ; United States v. Kapp , 564 F.3d 1103, 1114 (9th Cir.2009). A dispute is “genuine” as to a material fact if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson , 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505 ; Freecycle Sunnyvale v. Freecycle Network , 626 F.3d 509, 514 (9th Cir.2010).

Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the movant. Soremekun , 509 F.3d at 984. Where the non-moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant may prevail by presenting evidence that negates an essential element of the non-moving party's claim or by merely pointing out that there is an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's claim. See James River Ins. Co. v. Hebert Schenk, P.C. , 523 F.3d 915, 923 (9th Cir.2008) ; Soremekun , 509 F.3d at 984. If a moving party fails to carry its burden of production, then “the non-moving party has no obligation to produce anything, even if the non-moving party would have the ultimate burden of persuasion.”

158 F.Supp.3d 966

Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos. , 210 F.3d 1099, 1105–06 (9th Cir.2000). If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986) ; Nissan Fire , 210 F.3d at 1103. The opposing party cannot “ 'rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must instead produce evidence that 'sets forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial'.” Estate of Tucker v. Interscope Records , 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir.2008).

The opposing party's evidence is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. See Anderson , 477 U.S. at 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505 ; Matsushita , 475 U.S. at 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348 ; Narayan v. EGL, Inc. , 616 F.3d 895, 899 (9th Cir.2010). While a “justifiable inference” need not be the most likely or the most persuasive inference, a ‘justifiable inference‘ must still be rational or reasonable. See Narayan , 616 F.3d at 899. Summary judgment may not be granted “where divergent ultimate inferences may reasonably be drawn from the undisputed facts.” Fresno Motors, LLC v. Mercedes Benz USA, LLC , 771 F.3d 1119, 1125 (9th Cir.2014) ; see also Holly D. v. Cal. Inst. of Tech. , 339 F.3d 1158, 1175 (9th Cir.2003). Inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See Fitzgerald v. El Dorado Cnty. , 94 F.Supp.3d 1155, 1163 (E.D.Cal.2015) ; Sanders v. City of Fresno , 551 F.Supp.2d 1149, 1163 (E.D.Cal.2008). “‘A genuine issue of material fact does not spring into being simply because a litigant claims that one exists or promises to produce admissible evidence at trial.” Del Carmen Guadalupe v. Agosto , 299 F.3d 15, 23 (1st Cir.2002) ; see Bryant v. Adventist Health System/West , 289 F.3d 1162, 1167 (9th Cir.2002). The parties have the obligation to particularly identify material facts, and the court is not required to scour the record in search of a genuine disputed material fact. Simmons v. Navajo Cnty. , 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir.2010). Further, a “motion for summary judgment may not be defeated ... by evidence that is 'merely colorable’ or 'is not significantly probative'.” Anderson , 477 U.S. at 249–50, 106 S.Ct. 2505 ; Hardage v. CBS Broad. Inc. , 427 F.3d 1177, 1183 (9th Cir.2005). If the nonmoving party fails to produce evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Nissan Fire , 210 F.3d at 1103.


Agreserves is in the business of growing almonds and pistachios in Wasco, California. See DUMF 1. Agreserves has both seasonal and permanent employees. DUMF 2. Agreserves employed Robles from February 4, 2013 to April 1, 2013 as an agricultural temporary, seasonal farm laborer and sprayer, i.e. performing manual

158 F.Supp.3d 967

labor on the farmland. DUMF 3. Robles earned $8.75 per hour with Agreserves, and was an at-will employee. See DUMF's 4, 5. Robles was interviewed and hired by Payne. See PUMF 31; Defendants' Response to PUMF 31; Doc. No. 36 at 22:23-24. Payne was Agreserves Farm Production Manager and Robles's supervisor. DUMF 6.

At the outset of Robles's employment, Robles participated in a multi-hour orientation where Agreserves's workplace policies where explained, including the work stoppage practices for legally compliant meal and rest periods. See DUMF 10. Agreserves's policy is to provide all lawful and compliant meal and rest periods to its employees by ceasing operations and stopping work for all non-exempt agricultural employees. See DUMF 9.

Campo was a foreman who worked with Robles for three weeks, about February 4 to February 25. DUMF 7. Campo had no authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, or make other material changes to Robles's employment, or with respect to any other employee. DUMF 8. However, Campo assigned Robles day to day job duties, Robles had to follow Campo's instructions, and Campo would supervise Robles's work. See PUMF's 2, 3, 5; Campo Dec. ¶ 2.

During the time Robles worked under Campo, Campo would tell Robles almost daily things like: “Your religion is nothing, less than my religion,” or “I'm a better person than you guys because your religion is less than my religion,” or “You are less than me. I have a better job than you guys. I'm a Mormon and you guys are less than me,” or “My religion is on top. We are better than anyone else.” PUMF's 74, 75, 76, 77. Robles is Catholic and Campo is Mormon. See PUMF's 71, 73. Robles was also forced or required to participate in a Mormon prayer about 3 times, once in the shop and twice in the field. See PUMF 78; Robles Depo. 438:19-439:23.

Around mid-February 2013, Robles and 4 or 6 co-workers (who were Mexican) were sent to fix part of the irrigation system. See Robles Depo. 115:2-7; Robles Dec. ¶ 9. Robles and the others were traveling from North to South on 4-wheeler motorcycles, which make a lot of noise. See Robles Depo. 115:7-9. As the group was traveling, they began to hear someone was shooting a gun. See id. at 115:9-12. Robles did not know which directions the shots were coming from. See id. at 115:12-13. After the scene became quiet, some of the coworkers said that it was Campo who fired the shots, because he was the only one who did that. See id. at 115:13-16. The group continued traveling when Robles again heard shooting “in front of us.” See id. at 115:16-18. The group then saw a pack of coyotes running from East to West. See id. at 115:118-20. Coyotes and other vermin pose a danger to employees and the worksite, see DUMF 44; Campo Dec. ¶ 5, and the repair work that Robles was performing was due to wild animals (including coyotes) gnawing on the irrigation lines. See Robles Depo. 116:16-117:6. Robles declares that Campo was directing gunfire towards the workers; Campo declares he was shooting at the coyotes because of the dangers they pose, and he did not aim or shoot at humans. See Robles Dec. ¶ 9; Campo Dec. ¶ 5.

For three days, while working under Campo, Robles was not given the opportunity to take a meal break while at the machine shop because he was ordered to sweep. See PUMF 91; Robles Depo. 121:16-122:25. When other workers...

To continue reading

Request your trial
49 cases
  • Zakaryan v. Men's Wearhouse, Inc., B289192
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 28, 2019
    ...right of action to recover the civil penalties authorized under [that] statute[ ]"]; Robles v. Agreserves, Inc. (E.D. Cal. 2016) 158 F.Supp.3d 952, 1006 [same].)Third, the local prosecuting authority may prosecute the employer because the violations of some provisions of the Labor Code are ......
  • Cleveland v., LLC, Case No. 14-cv-00231-JCS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 4, 2016 address the issue). Without such evidence, he is precluded from bringing a section 1174(d) claim. Robles v. Agreserves, Inc. , 158 F.Supp.3d 952, 1005–06 (E.D.Cal.2016)200 F.Supp.3d 959(granting summary judgment on the plaintiff's claim under Labor Code section 558, which does not create......
  • Mejia v. Merchants Bldg. Maint., LLC
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 13, 2019
    ...(Atempa v. Pedrazzani (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 809, 826, 238 Cal.Rptr.3d 465 (Atempa ); see Robles v. Agreserves, Inc. (E.D. Cal. 2016) 158 F.Supp.3d 952, 1006 [concluding that "there is no private cause of action created by Labor Code § 558" and citing other cases stating the same].)7 As expl......
  • Christiansen v. Silverbrand
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • September 3, 2021
    ...doctrine extends beyond deposition testimony and covers interrogatory answers given under oath, too. See Robles v. Agreserves, Inc. , 158 F. Supp. 3d 952, 981 (E.D. Cal. 2016) ; Estrada v. US Bank, N.A. , No. 2:18-cv-01361-RGK-AMF, 2018 WL 8785205, at *2-3 (C.D. Cal. 2018) (unpublished opin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Physical torts
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books California Causes of Action
    • March 31, 2022
    ...been for an appreciable length of time. Hagberg v. California Federal Bank , 32 Cal.4th 350 (Cal. 2004); Robles v. Agreserves, Inc. , 158 F. Supp. 3d 952 (E.D. Cal. 2016) (denying summary judgment as a jury will have to determine whether 2 to 3 minutes was an “appreciable period of time.”) ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT