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Goethe v. State

May 6, 2010

GARY GOETHE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment, or alternatively, summary adjudication of issues, brought by Defendant California Department of Motor Vehicles ("Defendant"). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.*fn1

BACKGROUND

On September 29, 2006, Plaintiff filed Charge of Discrimination number 555-2006-01115 ("Charge") with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Def.'s Undisputed Fact ("DUF") No. 1. Plaintiff checked boxes on the Charge indicating that while he was employed by Defendant he was subject to discrimination based on "race" and "retaliation." He stated the pertinent facts as follows in that Charge:

I was hired on or about November 30, 1987. My current job title is Staff Services Manager I in the Business Consulting Group.

In or about 1995, I filed a discrimination lawsuit against Respondent. Since winning my lawsuit, I have been denied numerous promotions and lateral transfers. These include:

On or about March 6, 2006: Manager V, Customer Service/Technology and Manager V, Program Support Manager. On or about May 24, 2006: Manager V International Registration Plan Policy Section Manager. On or about June 15, 2006: Manager V, Revenue and Compliance Unit. All the selectees for the above positions were Caucasian.

On or about August 21, 2006: Manager V, Motor Carrier Permit Policy Section Manager. The selectee for this position is Black, but she has never complained of discrimination, to my knowledge.

In or about April 2006, I was denied a lateral transfer to Staff Services Manager I FOD Sacramento Headquarters Staff, Position number 438-4800-001, Bulletin number 2-06-0400. The selectee was Caucasian.

I believe I have been discriminated against because my race, Black, and for engaging in protected activity.

See DUF Nos. 2-5; Pl.'s Dep., 4/18/09, Ex. 15. At Plaintiff's request, the EEOC issued a Right-to-Sue Notice on August 9, 2007.

In addition to those facts alleged in his EEOC Charge, Plaintiff avers in his Second Amended Complaint that after settling his 1995 lawsuit, he applied for 41 lateral transfers or promotional opportunities between 1998 and 2000, yielding only two interviews. (Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff further contends that in November 2000, he approached his Department Director about his alleged disparate treatment. Subsequently, he was promoted to his current position. Id. at ¶ 12. Plaintiff states that since his promotion, he has applied for 40 additional transfers and/or promotions and has been denied. Id. at ¶ 13.

Based on these claims, Plaintiff alleges five causes of action in his Second Amended Complaint: 1) Disparate Impact Discrimination in violation of Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a); 2) Disparate Treatment Discrimination in violation of Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a); 3) Retaliation for Engaging in a Protected Activity in violation of Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a); 4) Racial Discrimination and Retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; 5) Conspiracy to Interfere with Civil Rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985. (Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. P. 5-10.)

On February 25, 2010, Defendant filed its current Motion for Summary Judgment. In support of its Motion, Defendant submits declarations of selected individuals who state that an applicant more qualified than Plaintiff received each position.

STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary judgment when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). One of the principal purposes of Rule 56 is to dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).

Rule 56 also allows a court to grant summary adjudication on part of a claim or defense. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) ("A party seeking to recover upon a claim ... may ... move ... for a summary judgment in the party's favor upon all or any part thereof."); see also Allstate Ins. Co. v. Madan, 889 F. Supp. 374, 378-79 (C.D. Cal. 1995); France Stone Co., Inc. v. Charter Twp. of Monroe, 790 F. Supp. 707, 710 (E.D. Mich. 1992).

The standard that applies to a motion for summary adjudication is the same as that which applies to a motion for summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a), 56(c); Mora v. ChemTronics, 16 F. Supp. 2d. 1192, 1200 (S.D. Cal. 1998).

Under summary judgment practice, the moving party always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file together with the affidavits, if any," ...


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