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HARTMAN v. CITY OF PETALUMA

January 4, 1994

JOHN HARTMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF PETALUMA, PETALUMA POLICE DEPARTMENT, and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JENSEN

 On December 3, 1993, the Court heard defendants' motion for summary judgment. William J. Arnone, Jr. of Merrill, Arnone & Handelman appeared on behalf of plaintiff. Cynthia L. Remmers and William T. Darden of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe appeared on behalf of defendants. Having considered the papers submitted, the arguments of counsel, the applicable law, and the entire record herein, the Court GRANTS defendants' motion for summary judgment, for the following reasons.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff, formerly a member of a nationally known musical group, applied to become a full-time member of the Petaluma Police Department. Plaintiff's application was denied.

 Plaintiff asserts that his application was denied because of his past drug use. Defendants contend that the application failed not because of plaintiff's past drug use, but his lack of candor regarding that drug use. Plaintiff's complaint, removed under federal question jurisdiction from Superior Court, lists five causes of action.

 First, plaintiff claims he has been treated contrary to public policy as reflected in Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) at 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et seq., because he is a qualified individual with a disability who has been unfairly excluded from activities by a public entity. Plaintiff claims that the term "disability" under the Act includes "individuals who are successfully rehabilitated from their prior use and individuals who are erroneously regarded as engaging in the use of illegal drugs." Complaint at 5.

 Plaintiff's second cause of action claims he was wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy. Plaintiff claims the acts were committed with malice and he therefore should receive punitive damages.

 Plaintiff's third cause of action is for breach of contract. Plaintiff claims defendants breached a "partly oral and partly implied in fact employment agreement by, inter alia, terminating plaintiff's employment in violation of public policy." Complaint at 6.

 Plaintiff's fourth cause of action is for intentional infliction of emotional distress and his fifth cause of action is for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

 Defendants ask for summary judgment. Defendants claim that plaintiff's first two causes of action must be dismissed because plaintiff is not a "qualified person with a disability." Defendants also assert that plaintiff's failure to file a tort claim bars his state law claims, and that his contractual claims fail as a matter of law. In addition, defendants argue that the intentional and negligent infliction claims by plaintiff are barred by the exclusive remedy of workers' compensation and the absence of outrageous conduct by defendant.

 II. DISCUSSION

 Consideration of defendants' motion requires setting out the standard for summary judgment and an application of that standard to the specific issues raised here.

 A. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

 Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a district court may grant summary judgment when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the ...


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