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Cowan v. William Morris Agency

August 18, 2009

RENNIE COWAN, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM MORRIS AGENCY, LLC; DAVID KEKST, STEVE COOLEY (DISTRICT ATTORNEY); MARY HARDING; MICHELLE LAMAR, ERIN SMITH; JANE JOHNSON; KIM KOSER; JASON HATCHER AND JIM WIATT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VIRGINIA A. Phillips United States District Judge

ORDER (1) DISMISSING CLAIMS ARISING UNDER AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND TITLE VII WITH LEAVE TO AMEND; (2) DISMISSING ALL OTHER CLAIMS WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Allegations

On March 12, 2007, Plaintiff Rennie Cowan ("Plaintiff") was discharged from her employment at Defendant William Morris Agency LLC ("William Morris"). (Compl. at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that her termination was in retaliation to discrimination claims that she filed with the Human Resources Department on September 26, 2006 and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on December 3, 2006. (Id. at 2-3, Ex. G.) Plaintiff further alleges that she was discharged because of her gender and her race. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants Kim Koser and Jason Hatcher, employees in the William Morris Human Resources Department, did nothing to help her after her September 26 complaint. (Id. at 4.)

Plaintiff also filed a Worker's Compensation claim against William Morris in October, 2006. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff alleges that she experienced severe abdominal pain, a hiatal hernia, and major depression after having her workstation moved to the basement by William Morris Senior Vice President of Administration David Kekst, which she claims was done to harass her. (Id at 2, 13.) Having such disabilities, Plaintiff further claims that William Morris' termination of her employment also violates the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). (Id at 6.)

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley and William Morris in-house counsel Mary Harding, both of whom are Jewish, retaliated against her, a Christian, by filing criminal charges against her. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff also claims Defendant Attorneys Erin Smith and Michelle LaMar committed legal malpractice by violating the ABA's attorney-advocate witness Model Rule by "posing" as witnesses against Plaintiff in her discrimination claims. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Judge Jane Johnson improperly deemed her as a "vexatious litigant," without an opportunity to be heard. (Id. at 9-10.)

Finally, Plaintiff seeks to protect her rights to her intellectual property, including manuscripts, which she claims she has been unable to copyright because Defendants have "blacklisted" her. (Id. at 17.)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed a Complaint in pro se in this Court on August 13, 2008, and is proceeding in forma pauperis against Defendants William Morris, David Kekst, Steve Cooley, Mary Harding, Michelle LaMar, Erin Smtih, Jane Johnson, Kim Koser, Jason Hatcher, and Jim Wiatt ("Defendants").

This case was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Robert Block pursuant to General Order 07-02 on September 4, 2008. That court issued an order requiring plaintiff to show cause why, for various reasons, her federal civil rights claims should not be dismissed without leave to amend. Plaintiff failed to file a response to the Order to Show Cause by the deadline set by that court.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court may dismiss a case at any time where a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis if that plaintiff (1) "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;" or (2) "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." As a general matter, the Federal Rules require only that a plaintiff provide "'a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). In addition, the Court must accept all material allegations in the complaint -- as well as any reasonable inferences to be drawn from them -- as true. See Doe v. United States, 419 F.3d 1058, 1062 (9th Cir. 2005); ARC Ecology v. U.S. Dep't of Air Force, 411 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2005).

The allegations must be plausible on the face of the complaint. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief.'" Id. (citations and internal quotations omitted).

Although the scope of review is limited to the contents of the complaint, the Court may also consider exhibits submitted with the complaint, Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990), and "take judicial notice of matters of public record outside the ...


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