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Tran v. San Diego County Superior Court

December 3, 2007

SUSAN TRAN, MARY BROOKS, ADRIENNE BANKS AND JAMES ROLSTAD, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF, AND ON BEHALF OF ALL PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, INCLUSIVE DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT SAN DIEGO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. Nos. 12, 15, 17]

Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the motion.

BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

This is a wage and hour collective action brought by Plaintiffs, the San Diego County Court Employees Association ("SDCCEA") and four of its members, against Defendant, the San Diego County Superior Court ("Superior Court").*fn1 Plaintiffs allege Defendant failed to pay overtime compensation and compensatory time-off in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").

Plaintiffs also allege a breach of a written contract (the "MOA") between the Superior Court and the SDCCEA based on these violations.

B. Procedural Background

On August 24, 2007, Plaintiffs filed the present suit. (Doc. No. 1.) On October 9, 2007, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the Eleventh Amendment bars this action. (Doc. No. 12.) Plaintiff filed an opposition on November 5, 2007. (Doc. No. 15.) Defendant filed a reply on November 9, 2007. (Doc. No. 17.) The Court held oral argument on November 19, 2007.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 731 (9th Cir. 2001). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint generally must satisfy only the minimal notice pleading requirements of Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a)(2).*fn2 Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003). A court may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim when "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Navarro, 250 F.3d at 732 (citing Conley); see also Haddock v. Board of Dental Examiners, 777 F.2d 462, 464 (9th Cir.1985) (a court should not dismiss a complaint if it states a claim under any legal theory, even if plaintiff erroneously relies on a different theory). In other words, a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper only where there is either a "lack of a cognizable legal theory" or "the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

In deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court's review is limited to the contents of the complaint. Campanelli v. Bockrath, 100 F.3d 1476, 1479 (9th Cir. 1996); Allarcom Pay Television, Ltd. v. General Instrument Corp., 69 F.3d 381, 385 (9th Cir. 1995). The court must accept all factual allegations pled in the complaint as true, and must construe them and draw all reasonable inferences from them in favor of the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir.1996); Mier v. Owens, 57 F.3d 747, 750 (9th Cir.1995) (citing Usher v. City of Los Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir.1987). In spite of the deference the court is bound to pay to the plaintiff's allegations, it is not proper for the court to assume that "the [plaintiff] can prove facts which [he or she] has not alleged." Associated General Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). Furthermore, a court is not required to credit conclusory legal allegations cast in the form of factual allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir.1981).

A court may dismiss a complaint without granting leave to amend only if it appears with certainty that the plaintiff cannot state a claim and any amendment would be futile. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) (leave to amend "shall be freely given when justice so requires"); DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Systems, Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir.1992); Albrecht v. Lund, 845 F.2d 193, 195 (9th Cir. 1988); Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986) ("leave to amend should be granted unless the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency").

DISCUSSION

A. Does the Eleventh Amendment bar this suit against the ...


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