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MADISON v. ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

United States District Court, N.D. California


September 3, 2004.

SANDRA CAPTORIA MADISON, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MAXINE CHESNEY, District Judge

ORDER GRANTING COUNTY'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; GRANTING FLORES LEAVE TO AMEND; VACATING HEARING
Before the Court is the motion for judgment on the pleadings filed August 3, 2004, and noticed for hearing September 10, 2004, by defendant County of Alameda ("County"). The County seeks judgment on the second, sixth, and seventh causes of action asserted against it by plaintiff Sandra Captoria Madison ("Madison") in her First Amended Complaint ("FAC") in the above-titled action. In her "opposition," Madison does not oppose dismissal of those causes of action, but instead seeks leave to amend her second cause of action, which currently alleges race and sex discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, to allege instead a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. Having reviewed the papers filed in connection with the motion, the Court finds the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument, see Civil L.R. 7-1(b), and hereby VACATES the September 10, 2004 hearing on the motion. For the reasons set forth below, the County's motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED and Madison's request for leave to amend her second cause of action is also GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

  The following background statement is taken from the allegations of the First Amended Complaint, which are assumed true for purposes of ruling on the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings. Madison is an African American female over 45 years of age. (See FAC ¶ 1.) At all relevant times, she was employed by the County, the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program ("Tri-Valley"), and the Pleasanton Unified School District ("PUSD"). (See id.) On or about December 4, 2000, Madison was hired by Tri-Valley and PUSD to work as a "DEUCE (Deciding Educating Understanding Counseling & Evaluating) Instructor" and was assigned to work at the Community Re-entry Center ("CRC") of the County Sheriff's office, where she instructed inmates. (See id. ¶¶ 16, 19.) During her employment, she allegedly "was the victim of numerous discriminatory and harassing actions and remarks made by Defendants on the basis of her race, age, and sex" (see id. ¶ 23), the details of which are not germane to the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings. Ultimately, Madison's site security clearance was cancelled, which led to her dismissal as a DEUCE instructor on November 5, 2002. (See id. ¶ 23k.)

  On January 20, 2004, Madison filed the instant action against the County, Tri-Valley, and PUSD. The operative complaint is the First Amended Complaint, which was filed June 28, 2004. The County now moves for judgment on the pleadings with respect to Madison's second cause of action, for race and sex discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, her sixth cause of action, for breach of implied and express contract, and her seventh cause of action, for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

  LEGAL STANDARD

  Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides in relevant part: "After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings." See Fed.R. Civ. P. 12(c). For purposes of a motion under Rule 12(c), the allegations of the non-moving party must be accepted as true, and the allegations of the moving party that have been denied are presumed false. See Hal Roach Studios v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1990). Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate only when the moving party clearly establishes on the face of the pleadings that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Enron Oil Trading & Transportation Co. v. Walbrook Ins. Co. Ltd., 132 F.3d 526, 529 (9th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted). Judgment may be granted only when the pleadings show beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of her claims that would entitle her to relief. See id. (citation omitted). The Ninth Circuit has held that "[t]he principal difference between motions filed pursuant to Rule 12(b) and Rule 12(c) is the time of filing" and that "[b]ecause the motions are functionally identical, the same standard of review applicable to a Rule 12(b) motion applies to its Rule 12(c) analog." See Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989).

  DISCUSSION

  A. Sixth and Seventh Causes of Action

  The County argues that the sixth cause of action, for breach of implied and express contract, and the seventh cause of action, for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, each must be dismissed because Madison alleges that she is a public employee and the employment of California public employees is governed by statute, not by contract. See, e.g., Kim v. Regents of the University of California, 80 Cal. App. 4th 160, 164 (2000). Madison does not oppose dismissal of these claims. Accordingly, the motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED as to the sixth and seventh causes of action, and those causes of action, to the extent asserted against the County, are hereby DISMISSED, with prejudice.

  B. Second Cause of Action

  The County moves for judgment on the pleadings as to the second cause of action, for race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, on the ground that such claim likewise is dependent on a contractual relationship with the County. Madison contends that she "inadvertently cited the incorrect United States Code in alleging [her] wrongful termination allegation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981" and was actually "attempting to allege Discrimination (Race and Sex) and Wrongful Termination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2." (See Plaintiff's Memorandum Of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings at 1-2.) Although Madison requests that the Court "deny Defendant's Motion as to the Second Cause of Action and grant Plaintiff leave to amend pursuant to F.R.C.P. 15(c)," Madison does not, in fact, argue that she can state a claim for violation of § 1981. Rather, she seeks leave to amend her complaint to replace that cause of action with a new cause of action for race and sex discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. As Madison does not oppose dismissal of her § 1981 claim, the County's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to that claim is hereby GRANTED.

  C. Request for Leave to Amend

  Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the amendment of complaints. Where, as here, a responsive pleading has already been filed, the party seeking amendment "may amend the party's pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed.R. Civ. P. 15(a). Generally, leave to amend should be granted with "extreme liberality." See Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1051 (9th Cir. 2003).

  As noted, Madison seeks leave to amend her complaint to replace her second cause of action, for violation of § 1981, with a new cause of action for violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. Although Madison has not submitted a proposed Second Amended Complaint, it appears from her opposition that she essentially seeks to replace all references to § 1981 with references to Title VII, leaving the factual allegations of the complaint unaltered. Madison argues that "[n]o prejudice will result to Defendants as a result of granting Plaintiff leave to amend, because all of the facts for Plaintiff's Wrongful Termination and Discrimination allegations are already alleged in the Complaint and First Amended Complaint, and Defendants therefore have ample notice of these allegations." (See Opposition at 2.) The County does not oppose Madison's request for leave to amend. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Madison's request to amend her second cause of action to plead a violation of Title VII.

  CONCLUSION

  For the reasons set forth above,

  1. The County's motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED, and Madison's second cause of action, for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, her sixth cause of action, for breach of implied and express contract, and her seventh cause of action, for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, to the extent asserted against the County, are DISMISSED with prejudice.

  2. Madison's request to amend her second cause of action to plead a violation of Title VII is GRANTED. Madison shall not amend her factual allegations or add any other causes of action to her complaint without first seeking leave of court. Madison shall file her Second Amended Complaint within fourteen days of the date of this order.

  IT IS SO ORDERED.

20040903

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