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Taylor v. Beth Eden Baptist Church

August 05, 2003

LORI TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BETH EDEN BAPTIST CHURCH, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph C. Spero United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AS TO DEFENDANT BETH EDEN BAPTIST CHURCH AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART AS TO DEFENDANT GILLETTE JAMES [Docket Nos. 5 and 7]

I. INTRODUCTION

In this action, Plaintiff Lori Taylor brings sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims against Defendant Beth Eden Baptist Church ("Beth Eden") and its pastor, Defendant Gillette James. Beth Eden filed a Motion to Dismiss ("the Motion"), and James filed a Notice of Joinder in the Motion. Taylor filed a Statement of Non-Opposition as to Beth Eden but opposed the Motion as to James. The Motion came on for hearing on Friday, August 1, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. The Court GRANTS the Motion as to Beth Eden on the ground that it is unopposed. Accordingly, Claims Four, Six and Nine are dismissed with prejudice as to Beth Eden. As to James, the Court GRANTS the Motion as to Claims Six and Nine, which are dismissed with prejudice, and DENIES the Motion as to Claim Four, for the reasons stated below.*fn1

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Plaintiff Lori Taylor worked as Beth Eden's Youth and Young Adult Minister from July 2001 to November 2002. First Amended Complaint (hereinafter "FAC") at ¶ ¶ 3, 8, 10. In addition, Taylor has been a member of Beth Eden and has attended services regularly since January 14, 1990. Id. at ¶ 7. At the time of the relevant events, James was employed as the pastor of Beth Eden. Id. at ¶ 5. Although Taylor does not allege explicitly in her complaint that James was her supervisor, the job description for Taylor's position that was attached to her original complaint states that the Youth and Young Adult Minister is directly accountable to the Pastor. Exh. A to FAC (Youth and Young Adult Minister's Job Specification).

Taylor alleges that on February 19, 2002, Taylor went to James's "private study for private and personal counseling." Id. at ¶ 9. According to Taylor, as she was leaving his study, James "abruptly left his desk, rushed over to her and physically grabbed her" and then "pulled Taylor to him in a very personal and sexually provocative manner." Id. Taylor alleges that she "pulled herself from his grasp and ran from his study." Id.

Plaintiff alleges that she was "extremely disturbed" by this incident. Id. at ¶ 10. On May 2, 2002, Taylor took a leave of absence at the recommendation of her doctor and filed for Workers Compensation benefits. Id. In September 2002, Taylor was approved to receive Workers Compensation benefits. Id. Taylor alleges that she "did not abandon her position with the Church." Id. at ¶ 11. According to Taylor, she received a letter regarding her employment from Beth Eden's personnel committee on September 27, 2002.*fn2 Id. In addition, a letter from the personnel committee to Taylor's doctor dated October 21, 2002 stated that "until Taylor returned as the Youth Minister, the Personnel Chairperson would recommend to the Personnel Committee that an interim person serve in her position." Id.

On "the first Sunday of November 2002, Taylor went to Beth Eden to worship as usual." Id. at ¶ 12. According to Taylor, when she returned to her car, she found "a document on her car referring to the Pastor's history of infidelities and predatory exploitation of female petitioners." Id. Taylor further alleges that "[a]s a result of [her] complaints about Defendant [James'] inappropriate sexual advances toward her and other female parishioners, Defendant [James] and Beth Eden slandered her reputation, filed and served a request for a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting her from entering the Church, and subjected her to undue criticism and ridicule from other Church members." Id. at ¶ 14.

On March 1, 2002, Taylor filed a claim with the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) with a request for joint filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Id. at ¶ 15. A Notice of Right to Sue was issued by the DFEH on February 12, 2003 and by the EEOC on February 13, 2003. Id.

B. Procedural Background

Taylor filed a Complaint on February 18, 2003 and her First Amended Complaint on May 27, 2003. In her First Amended Complaint, Taylor asserts the following claims:

1. Claim One: Sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000 et seq.

2. Claim Two: Unlawful retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981(a).

3. Claim Three: Intentional infliction of emotional distress.

4. Claim Four: Negligent infliction of emotional distress.

5. Claim Five: Unlawful denial of employment in violation of California Constitution Article I, Section 8.

6. Claim Six: Sex discrimination in violation of California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12900 et seq.

7. Claim Seven: Sexual harassment in violation of California Civil Code §51.9.

8. Claim Eight: Sexual battery in violation of California Civil Code §1708.5.

9. Claim Nine: Retaliation in violation of California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12900 et seq.

Defendant Beth Eden filed a Motion to Dismiss on June 20, 2002. In the Motion, Beth Eden seeks dismissal of Taylor's Fourth, Sixth and Ninth Claims. Beth Eden argues that Claim Four, for negligent infliction of emotional distress, is barred under California Labor Code ยง 3602 because Workers Compensation benefits provide the exclusive remedy for Taylor's injury. Beth Eden argues that Claims Six and Nine - for ...


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