Tijerina v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 22-CV-203 JLS (BGS)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
PartiesBEATRIZ TIJERINA, individually, Plaintiff, v. ALASKA AIRLINES, INC., an Alaska Corporation; and DOES 1-50, Defendants.
Docket Number22-CV-203 JLS (BGS)
Decision Date05 August 2022

BEATRIZ TIJERINA, individually, Plaintiff,

ALASKA AIRLINES, INC., an Alaska Corporation; and DOES 1-50, Defendants.

No. 22-CV-203 JLS (BGS)

United States District Court, S.D. California

August 5, 2022



Presently before the Court are Plaintiff Beatriz Tijerina's (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Remand to State Court of San Diego County (“Mot.,” ECF No. 9) and accompanying Request for Judicial Notice (“Pl.'s RJN,” ECF No. 9-5). Also before the Court are Defendant Alaska Airlines, Inc.'s (“Defendant” or “Alaska”) Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion (“Opp'n,” ECF No. 11), Defendant's accompanying Request for Judicial Notice (“Def.'s RJN,” ECF No. 11-3), and Plaintiff's Reply in Support of her Motion (“Reply,” ECF No. 13). Finally, both Parties have filed a variety of objections: Plaintiff's


“Objections to Defendant's Evidence in Support of Its Notice of Removal from State Court” (“Notice Objs.,” ECF No. 9-4), Defendant's “Objections to Evidence Submitted by Plaintiff in Support of Motion to Remand” (“Def.'s Objs.,” ECF No. 11-4), Plaintiff's “Evidentiary Objections to Evidence Defendant[] Submitted with Its Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Remand to State Court” (“Opp'n Objs.,” ECF No. 13-1), and Plaintiff's “Objections to Defendant's Request for Judicial Notice” (“RJN Objs.,” ECF No. 13-2) (collectively, the “Objections”).

The Court took these matters under submission without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). See ECF No. 12. Having considered Defendant's Notice of Removal (“Notice,” ECF No. 1), Plaintiff's Complaint (“Compl,” ECF No. 1-2), the Parties' arguments and evidence, and the law, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's RJN, GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant's RJN, SUSTAINS IN PART AND OVERRULES IN PART the Parties' Objections,[1] and DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Remand, for the reasons that follow.


Plaintiff, a resident of the State of California, began working for Alaska in or around March 2018 as a customer service agent at the airport in San Diego, California. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 12. Plaintiff alleges that her night crew supervisor, Mark Buenaflor, engaged in sexually harassing conduct toward her. Id. ¶¶ 13-17. Plaintiff reported Mr. Buenaflor's conduct to Defendant's human resources department, Plaintiff's other managers, and Plaintiff's union representative. Id. ¶¶ 13, 17. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant thereafter retaliated against her, id. ¶¶ 19-20; and, on January 29, 2020, Plaintiff was constructively terminated from her employment, id. ¶ 26.

Plaintiff filed this action in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, on January 4, 2022, alleging causes of actions for: (1) Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment - California Government Code § 12940(j); (2) Hostile Work Environment


Sexual Harassment - California Government Code § 12940(j); (3) Disparate Treatment -California Government Code § 12940(a); (4) Failure to Prevent Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination - California Government Code § 12940(k); (5) Negligent Retention; (6) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress; and (7) Constructive Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy. See generally Notice; Compl. Defendant timely removed to this District on the basis that there exists complete diversity of citizenship between Plaintiff and Defendant and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00. See Notice at 3 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1)). Plaintiff filed the instant Motion on March 16, 2022. See generally Mot.


I. Legal Standard

“A court can consider evidence in deciding a remand motion, including documents that can be judicially noticed.” Vasserman v. Henry Mayo Newhall Mem'l Hosp., 65 F.Supp.3d 932, 941 (C.D. Cal. 2014) (compiling cases). Per Federal Rule of Evidence 201, a court may take judicial notice of an adjudicative fact if it “is not subject to reasonable dispute because it (1) is generally known within the court's territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.”

Rule 201, however, deals only with adjudicative facts. See Lindland v. TuSimple, Inc., Case No. 21-CV-417 JLS (MDD), 2022 WL 687148, at *3 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 8, 2022) (citation omitted). “Adjudicative facts are simply facts of the particular case,” whereas legislative facts are those related to “legal reasoning and lawmaking.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(a), Notes of Advisory Committee on Proposed Rules Subdivision (a). “It is unnecessary to request that the court judicially notice published cases from California and federal courts as legal precedent; the court routinely considers such legal authorities in doing its legal analysis without a party requesting that they be judicially noticed.” Lindland, 2022 WL 687148, at *3 (quoting Lucero v. Wong, No. C 10-1339 SI PR, 2011 WL 5834963, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2011)); see Benton v. Cory, 474 Fed.Appx. 622, 623-24 (9th Cir. 2012)


(“We grant [appellant]'s request for judicial notice of court filings in other proceedings, but deny as unnecessary his request for judicial notice of legal authorities.”) (citing Trigueros v. Adams, 658 F.3d 983, 987 (9th Cir. 2011)); Owino v. CoreCivic, Inc., No. 17-CV-1112 JLS (NLS), 2018 WL 2193644, at *2 (S.D. Cal. May 14, 2018) (“It is well established that []courts may consider legal reasoning and conclusions of other federal courts without resort to Rule 201.”) (citing Derum v. Saks & Co., 95 F.Supp.3d 1221, 1224 (S.D. Cal. 2015)); Nguyen v. Cavalry Portfolio Servs., LLC, No. 15-CV-0063-CAB-BLM, 2015 WL 12672149, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 20, 2015) (“[I]t is inappropriate to request that the Court take judicial notice of legal authority, as judicial notice is reserved for adjudicative fact[s] only.”) (quoting Stiller v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 3:09-cv-2473-GPC-BGS, 2013 WL 4401371, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 15, 2013)).

II. Analysis

Both Plaintiff and Defendant request that the Court judicially notice various documents. See generally Pl.'s RJN; Def.'s RJN. Specifically, Plaintiff requests the Court take judicial notice of articles and information from Defendant's website; several of Defendant's employees' and/or board members' LinkedIn profiles; a map of Burlingame and Palo Alto, California; an online article; and two jury verdict summaries. See Pl.'s RJN. Defendant, meanwhile, requests the Court take judicial notice of various court filings, jury verdict summaries, and state and federal court rulings. See Def.'s RJN. The Court addresses each RJN in turn.

A. Plaintiff's RJN

Plaintiff requests judicial notice of thirteen exhibits introduced through the Declaration of Jimmie D. Parker in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Remand (“Parker Decl.,” ECF No. 9-2). See generally Pl.'s RJN. Defendant generally objects to the Parker Declaration, arguing that “[e]vidence showing general business activities in California, without showing that corporate officers ‘direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities' from that location is . . . irrelevant.” Def.'s Objs. at 1-2. Defendant further raises specific Objections to each of Plaintiff's thirteen exhibits. Id. at 2-19.


First, Plaintiff seeks to have Exhibits A, B, D, H, I, K, L, and M admitted as materials “not subject to ‘reasonable dispute' because the sources are from Defendant's website.”[2]Pl.'s RJN at 3. However, “[i]nformation on websites, especially a party's website, is often not considered an appropriate subject of judicial notice.” Better Homes Realty, Inc. v. Watmore, No. 316CV01607BENMDD, 2017 WL 1400065, at *3 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 18, 2017) (citations omitted); accord Hsieh v. FCA U.S. LLC, 440 F.Supp.3d 1157, 1160-61 (S.D. Cal. 2020) (declining to judicially notice party's website). Cases that do judicially notice information from websites often rely on the doctrine of incorporation by reference when the complaint necessarily relies on information appearing on a party's website. See, e.g., Spy Optic, Inc. v. Alibaba.Com, Inc., 163 F.Supp.3d 755, 763 (C.D. Cal. 2015) (judicially noticing certain screenshots from party's website where pleading relied on that information). Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's RJN as to Exhibits A, B, D, H, I, and K and OVERRULES AS MOOT Defendant's Objections thereto.

Exhibits L and M consist of case and verdict summaries from Verdict Search. See Pl.'s RJN at 2-3; see also Parker Decl. Exs. L & M. Although “the accuracy of . . . jury verdicts as public records of prior proceedings can be determined by readily available resources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned,” Gaines v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 2:21-CV-00992 WBS AC, 2021 WL 3077463, at *2 (E.D. Cal. July 21, 2021) (citing Vasquez v. Arvato Digital Services, LLC, No. CV 11-02836 RSWL (AJWx), 2011 WL 2560261, at *2 (C.D. Cal. June 27, 2011)), “the Court has some concerns as to the reliability of these surveys, which are created not by the courts but by private companies who compile the data by speaking with attorneys,” Bloomer v. Serco Mgmt. Servs., Inc., No. EDCV161655JGBRAOX, 2016 WL 4926409, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2016). Accordingly, the Court SUSTAINS Defendant's Objections and DENIES Plaintiff's RJN as to Exhibits L and M.


Second, Plaintiff requests judicial notice of LinkedIn profiles for various employees and board members of Defendant, contained in Exhibits C, E, F, and G, on the basis that “their ‘accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned.'” Pl.'s RJN at 4 (quoting Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)). Plaintiff notes that judicial notice of...

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