Taylor v. Donley, CIV S-08-0869 JAM DAD PS

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
PartiesKAREN M. TAYLOR, Plaintiff, v. MICHAEL B. DONLEY, Secretary of the United States Air Force, Defendant.
Docket NumberNo. CIV S-08-0869 JAM DAD PS,CIV S-08-0869 JAM DAD PS
Decision Date30 January 2012

KAREN M. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL B. DONLEY, Secretary of the United States Air Force, Defendant.

No. CIV S-08-0869 JAM DAD PS


DATED: January 30, 2012


This matter came before the court on April 8, 2011 for hearing of defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 56). Plaintiff Karen Taylor, proceeding pro se, appeared on her own behalf. Edward Olsen, Esq. appeared on behalf of defendant Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force. Oral argument was heard, and defendant's motion for summary judgment was taken under submission.

For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned now recommends that defendant's motion be granted.

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Plaintiff is proceeding on her second amended complaint. Therein, she alleges as follows.1 After 26 years of employment with the United States Air Force plaintiff requested a period of leave without pay and, upon her return to work, a light duty assignment. Plaintiff's request was supported by documentation from seven doctors. Defendant nonetheless denied plaintiff's request.

Plaintiff later complained about her supervisor's behavior to her union president. Plaintiff's supervisor wrote to plaintiff and told her that her "life would be hell." Thereafter, plaintiff was denied a promotion, overtime pay, mileage pay, received written discipline, and was "placed in a non-pay status when plaintiff had 130 hrs of uses or lose leave . . ." (Sec. Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 31) at 2.)2

Plaintiff's supervisor also gave plaintiff, and all African American employees, a holiday card displaying African American people with braided hair. Caucasian employees were given a holiday card displaying a Caucasian family. Plaintiff's supervisor attempted to have plaintiff sign a receipt for a fraudulent purchase on a government credit card. Plaintiff refused and the supervisor responded by giving plaintiff a poor performance review and suspending her for five days. Plaintiff was subjected to threatening emails and phone calls at home and at work.

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Plaintiff was yelled at and pushed into a corner. (Id.)

Eventually, plaintiff's job was eliminated. Plaintiff was offered a new job as a Child Care Provider but was not provided any training. Moreover, plaintiff had just returned to work after surgery and the job of Child Care Provider required her to lift children and walk five to six miles, often uphill, for in-home visits. The telephone in plaintiff's office was turned off, requiring her to walk down a hall to another office to make and receive telephone calls approximately twenty to thirty times a day. Plaintiff was also denied an advancement of 240 hours of sick leave, while similar requests by non-African American employees were granted. In response to these events, plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Id. at 2-3.)

On April 24, 2008, plaintiff commenced this action by filing her original complaint. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff then filed a first amended complaint on May 6, 2008. (Doc. No. 5.) Defendant moved to dismiss the first amended complaint on November 26, 2008. (Doc. No. 15.) On January 26, 2009, the undersigned granted defendant's motion to dismiss the first amended complaint but also granted plaintiff leave to amend. (Doc. No. 27.)

Plaintiff filed her second amended complaint on March 4, 2009. (Sec. Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 31.)) Therein, plaintiff set forth claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983; the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq.; the Family Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601, et seq.; the Fourteenth Amendment; Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.; and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701, et seq.

On April 1, 2009, defendant moved for partial dismissal of plaintiff's second amended complaint, only with respect to plaintiff's claims brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. No. 35.) Concurrently with that motion for partial dismissal, defendant filed an answer to plaintiff's claims brought under Title VII and the Rehabilitation Act. (Doc. No. 36.) On March 10, 2010, the undersigned issued findings and recommendations recommending that

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defendant's motion for partial dismissal be granted. (Doc. No. 43.) Those findings and recommendations were adopted by the assigned District Judge on March 26, 2010. (Doc. No. 45.)

On March 11, 2011, defendant filed the motion for summary judgment now pending before the court. (MSJ (Doc. No. 56.)) Plaintiff filed a 288-page opposition to defendant's motion on March 29, 2011, (Pl.'s Opp.'n. (Doc. No. 58)), and defendant filed a reply on April 1, 2011. (Def.'s Reply (Doc. No. 60.)) In moving for summary judgment defendant failed to comply with the Local Rules by failing to timely serve plaintiff with notice of the motion for summary judgment, to provide the court with a courtesy copy of a deposition relied on in the motion, and to provide a statement of undisputed facts. (Doc. No. 62.) On April 11, 2011, defendant was ordered to correct these errors. (Id.) On April 12, 2011, defendant filed a statement of undisputed facts (Def.'s SUF (Doc. No. 63)) and on April 19, 2011, plaintiff filed a 129-page response, styled as a "Statement of Disputed Facts and Material Facts in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment." (Pl.'s SDF (Doc. No. 65).)


I. Legal Standards

Summary judgment is appropriate 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(c). See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Owen v. Local No. 169, 971 F.2d 347, 355 (9th Cir. 1992).

A party moving for summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any," which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.

Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

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"[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the 'pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file.'" Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Indeed, summary judgment should be entered, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See id. at 322.

"[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Id. Summary judgment should then be granted, "so long as whatever is before the district court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary judgment, as set forth in Rule 56(c), is satisfied." Id. at 323.

If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n. 11. The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). The opposing party must also demonstrate that the dispute is genuine, i.e., that the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).

To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that "the claimed factual

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dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 631. Thus, the "purpose of summary judgment is to 'pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'" Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) advisory committee's note on 1963 amendments).

In resolving the summary judgment motion, the court examines the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. All reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the...

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