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Mefford v. Cameron Park Community Services District

July 15, 2010

TAMMY MEFFORD, PLAINTIFF(S),
v.
CAMERON PARK COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT, A PUBLIC ENTITY; ALAN CLARKE, AN INDIVIDUAL; DAVID M. JOHNSON, AN INDIVIDUAL AND; KENNETH E. CATER AN INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANT(S).



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable John Mendez

ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' CAMERON PARK COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT, DAVID JOHNSON, ALAN CLARKE MOTIONS TO DISMISS [FRCP 12(b)(6)]

Date; June 30, 2010

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Dept.: 6

The respective Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 12(b)(6) Motions to Dismiss by Defendants, Cameron Park Community Services District, David M. Johnson and Alan Clarke and David M. Johnson's and Alan Clarke's Motions for a More Definite Statement came on for hearing in Department 6 on June 30, 2010. Michael Ahmad appeared on behalf of Plaintiff Tammy Mefford. James K. Ward appeared on behalf of Cameron Park Community Services District. Domenic Spinelli appeared on behalf of David M. Johnson. Derek Haynes appeared on behalf of Alan Clarke.

After full consideration of the written and oral submissions by the parties, the Court rules as follows:

As to the third cause of action for Retaliation in Violation of Plaintiff's Right to Free Speech, the claim requires a five-step analysis:

1. The Court needs to determine whether the plaintiff spoke on a matter of public concern.

2. Whether the plaintiff spoke as a private citizen or public employee. 3. Whether the plaintiff's protected speech was a substantial or motivating factor in the adverse employment action.

4. Whether the state had an adequate justification for treating the employee differently from other members of the public.

5. Whether the state would have taken the adverse employment action even absent the protected speech. (Eng v. Cooley (2009 9th Cir.) 552 F.3d 1062, 1070.)

Plaintiff bears the burden of showing the speech was spoken in the capacity of a private citizen and not a public employee. (Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006) 547 U.S. 410.) Statements are made in the speaker's capacity as a citizen if the speaker had no official duty to make the questioned statements, or if the speech was not the product of performing the tasks the employee was paid to perform.

"When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline." (Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006) 547 U.S. 410, 421.)

In the case before the Court, the First Amended Complaint contains no allegations that she was retaliated against for statements she made as a private citizen. The First Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff's statements were made in the scope of her employment as the general manager of CPCSD. For example, paragraph 24 of the First Amended Complaint contains an allegation that Plaintiff tried to personally address her workplace concerns and warned the ...


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