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Jones-Hundley v. Lynwood Unified School District

August 6, 2009

FANNIE JONES-HUNDLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LYNWOOD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, RACHEL CHAVEZ, MARTINA RODRIGUEZ, MARIA LOPEZ, JOSE LUIS SOLACHE, ALFONSO MORALES, GUADALUPE RODRIGUEZ, DHYAN LAL, ROBERTO CASAS, DIANE LUCAS; ANIM MENER, MALCOLM BUTLER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

[Motion filed on May 28, 2009]

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Fannie Jones-Hundley, who is African American, has been employed with Defendant Lynwood Unified School District ("the District") since 1976. (Hundley Decl. ¶ 3.) From 1976 to 2005, she was employed as a middle school teacher. (Id.) In 2005, Plaintiff was working at Lynwood Middle School ("LMS"), when principal Anim Mener began her first year. (Statement of Uncontroverted Facts ("SUF") ¶ 5.)

On September 27, 2005, Plaintiff went to a District Board meeting and described numerous problems with facilities at LMS, including that she believed "a racist act has occurred at [LMS]," and that she "was given a letter stating she was late for class and someone else was not written up who arrived at the same time." (Urias Decl. Ex. 3.) Plaintiff further stated that there was "too much going on" at LMS and that she did not want to continue working there. (Id.) The next day, on September 28, 2005, Plaintiff was delivering papers to the front office, when she states Mener approached her, used a racial epithet against her (the word "nigger"), and then told Plaintiff that Mener would get rid of her if Plaintiff continued to embarrass her (as at the Board meeting). (SUF ¶ 8; Hundley Decl. ¶ 8.) Mener denies making the racial epithet and believes Plaintiff was attempting to defame her. (Urias Decl. Ex. 14.) Plaintiff also states that Mener, in general, harassed her by not acknowledging her or speaking to her when they passed on campus, although Plaintiff concedes she was never subjected to another derogatory comment. (Hundley Decl. ¶ 8; SUF ¶ 38.)

Some time around October 4, 2005, Mener recommended that Plaintiff be transferred from LMS to Lynwood High School. (Hundley Decl. ¶ 3; Urias Decl. Ex. 22.) The reason Mener recommended Plaintiff's transfer was based on the events of September 28, 2005 and because she believed Plaintiff had defamed her. (Garcia Decl. Ex. 8.) Plaintiff filed a first charge for race discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on December 1, 2005. (Garcia Decl. Ex. 10.) On October 11 and 25, 2005, Plaintiff returned to the District Board's public meetings and informed the Board that she had been transferred and discriminated against. (Urias Decl. Ex. 20.) An investigation was then conducted by the District, based on Plaintiff's comments to the Board. (See Urias Decl. Ex. 7.) In this investigation, Mener was found to have produced four witnesses who substantiated her position, while Plaintiff provided none. (Id.) The Board recommended dealing with any remaining problem according to the union's grievance procedures.

Regarding her transfer to Lynwood High, Plaintiff states that her transfer resulted in a loss of income, because she was no longer able to work on an hourly basis on the weekend or in after-school intervention programs. (Hundley Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff also had more students at Lynwood High and was forced to do more preparation work, because of the different nature of the grades she taught. (Id. ¶ 5.) The students at Lynwood High also had more behavior problems. (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff filed a second charge with the EEOC on July 11, 2006. (Garcia Decl. Ex. 11.)

One year after being transferred, Plaintiff went on paid administrative leave from October 2006 through May 2007 in connection with an unspecified administrative action that resulted in a confidential settlement agreement.*fn1 (SUF ¶ 23.) When she returned to work, Plaintiff was placed at Vista High School ("Vista"), which is a "continuation school." (SUF ¶ 24.) Students at Vista are placed there due to truancy, behavior, gang, family, and psychological problems. (Hundley Decl. ¶ 7.) Accordingly, student conduct is much more of a problem than at Lynwood High or LMS. (Id.) Plaintiff then filed the present suit.

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint ("SAC) brings the following claims. Except for the fourth claim, all claims are against the District:

1) wrongful demotion based on race discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), Cal. Gov. Code § 12940(a);

2) retaliation in violation of FEHA § 12940(a);

3) discrimination based on age in violation of FEHA § 12940(h);

4) failure to prevent harassment in violation of FEHA ยง 12940(k), against both ...


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