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Jappa v. State

May 15, 2009

ANDREANA JAPPA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, DAVID CAVENDAR, TOBERT J. HERNANDEZ, JOHN MARTIN, DAVID COOK, ROBERT EDWARDS, MARDELOUIS HAWTHORNE, AND DOES 1-X, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER

The matter before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (Doc. # 11) filed by Defendants State of California, Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, David Cavendar, Robert J. Hernandez, and Mardelouis Hawthorne.

Background

On or about June 17, 2008, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego. Not. of Removal, p. 2. On October 6, 2008, Defendants removed the complaint to this Court (Doc. # 1). The complaint alleged that California Department of Corrections ("CDC") is an agency of the State of California ("State"). The complaint alleged that Defendants David Cavendar, Robert J. Hernandez, John Martin, David Cook, Mardelouis Hawthorne, and Robert Edwards were agents of the State and CDC at all relevant times. The complaint alleged that Plaintiff was an employee of CDC and is currently on disability leave. The complaint alleged the following causes of action: (1) breach of contract against State, CDC, Cavendar and Hernandez; (2) breach of contract against State, CDC and Edwards; (3) breach of contract against State, CDC, Martin and Cook; (4) fraud and deceit by intentional misrepresentation against State, CDC and Cavendar; (5) fraud and deceit by intentional misrepresentation against State, CDC and Hawthorne; (6) failure to pay wages in violation of section 203 of the California Labor Code against State and CDC; (7) wage rate discrimination in violation of section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code against State and CDC; (8) gender discrimination, in violation of the California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), section 12940 of the California Government Code, against State and CDC; (9) gender discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. section 2000e, et seq., against State and CDC; and (10) violation of the federal Equal Pay Act ("EPA"), 29 U.S.C. section 206(d), against State and CDC.

On October 14, 2008, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss (Doc. # 4). On January 8, 2009, this Court issued an order ("January 8 Order") denying the motion to dismiss as to the seventh and tenth causes of action, and granting the motion to dismiss as the remaining causes of action (Doc. # 8). The Court concluded that Plaintiff's seventh and tenth causes of action for violation of the federal and state Equal Pay Acts were not time-barred, and denied the motion to dismiss with respect to these claims. With respect to the fourth and fifth causes of action for fraud and deceit by intentional misrepresentation, the Court concluded that the State and CDC are immune from such claims, and that the complaint failed to allege that the individual Defendants were motivated by corruption or actual malice. With respect to the sixth cause of action for violation of section 203 of the California Labor Code, the Court found that the complaint alleged that Plaintiff was on maternity leave; that the complaint did not allege that Plaintiff would not be able to return to her job in the future; and that the complaint did not allege that Plaintiff was hired to perform a specific task for a specific duration and that the job assignment or time duration for which she was hired was complete. The Court therefore concluded that the complaint failed to allege that Plaintiff had been discharged within the meaning of section 203. With respect to the eighth and ninth causes of action for gender discrimination, the Court concluded that Plaintiff's claims are time-barred under both section 12960(d) of the California Government Code and 42 U.S.C. section 2000e-5(e). The Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.

On February 17, 2009, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint ("FAC") (Doc. # 10), which is the operative pleading in this case. The FAC alleges claims against the State, CDC, Cavendar, Hawthorne and Hernandez. The FAC alleges the following causes of action:

(1) fraud and deceit by intentional misrepresentation against Cavendar; (2) fraud and deceit by intentional misrepresentation against Hawthorne; (3) failure to pay wages in violation of section 203 of the California Labor Code against State, CDC, and Hernandez; (4) wage rate discrimination in violation of section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code against State and CDC; and (5) violation of the federal EPA against CDC and State. The allegations in the FAC supporting the causes of action for fraud and deceit by intentional misrepresentation are identical to the allegations in the original complaint, except that the FAC also alleges that the misrepresentations made by Cavendar and Hawthorne "were motivated by corruption and actual malice against Plaintiff." FAC, ¶¶ 36, 46. The allegations in the FAC supporting the cause of action for failure to pay wages in violation of section 203 of the California Labor Code are identical to the allegations in the original complaint, except that the FAC also alleges that "[d]uring November 2006, Plaintiff was discharged from employment by being placed on a medical leave of absence;" that "[d]uring fall 2008, she was temporarily re-hired by State for a different position[,] [a]fter approximately 60 days, she was terminated from that position again[, and] Plaintiff believes she will not be able to return to her position in the future;" that "Plaintiff expects that she will receive an official written statement of discharge from employment by CDC within a few weeks, and in any case prior to her trial date;" and that "[i]n case Plaintiff is considered as still being an employee of Defendant CDC, she intends to quit her employment with Defendant CDC." Id., ¶¶ 52-54. The allegations in the FAC supporting the causes of action for wage rate discrimination in violation of section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code and violation of the federal EPA are identical to the allegations in the original complaint.

On March 9, 2009, Defendants filed the Motion to Dismiss the FAC ("Motion to Dismiss"). On April 6, 2009, Plaintiff filed the Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 12). On April 13, 2009, Defendants filed the Reply (Doc. # 14).

Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the pleadings. See De La Cruz v. Tormey, 582 F.2d 45, 48 (9th Cir. 1978). A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) where the factual allegations do not raise the right to relief above the speculative level. See Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). Conversely, a complaint may not be dismissed for failure to state a claim where the allegations plausibly show that the pleader is entitled to relief. See id. (citing Fed R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). In ruling on a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court must construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint, as well as any reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom. See Broam v. Bogan, 320 F.3d 1023, 1028 (9th Cir. 2003); see also Chang v. Chen, 80 F.3d 1293 (9th Cir. 1996).

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint to contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). While the Federal Rules adopt a flexible pleading policy, every complaint must, at a minimum, "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1964 (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

Analysis

A. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

Defendants contend that "Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity bars Plaintiff's state law claims against the State, the CDCR, and the individual Defendants, who were sued in their official capacities." Mot. to Dismiss, p. 10.Defendants contend that the "Eleventh Amendment also bars Plaintiff's federal Equal Pay Act claim because California has not waived its right to sovereign immunity from such claims in state or federal court." Id. at 12. Defendants contend that "Defendants ...


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