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Miramontes v. Madeira USA


November 12, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge


Discovery Cut-Off: 07/29/11

Non-Dispositive Motion

Filing Deadline: 08/15/11

Non-Dispositive Motion

Hearing Date: 09/16/11 9:00


Dispositive Motion Filing

Deadline: 08/30/11

I. Date of Scheduling Conference. November 12, 2010.

Dispositive Motion Hearing Date: 10/3/11 10:00 Ctrm. 3

Bakersfield Settlement Conference Date: 8/3/11 10:00

Pre-Trial Conference Date: 11/7/11 11:00 Ctrm. 3

Ctrm. 3 (JT-5 days)

Trial Date: 12/13/11 9:00

III. Summary of Pleadings

A. Miramontes' Contentions.

1. Miramontes was employed by Madeira as a Customer Service Representative from September of 2005 through August 12, 2008. In May of 2008, Miramontes discovered that she was pregnant. Almost immediately Debi Ewers, one of Miramontes' direct supervisors and a senior manager at Madeira, engaged in conduct which included harassing and belittling comments regarding her pregnancy - muttering the word "retarded" and "idiot" under her breath and making comments about certain individuals being "prego" as Miramontes would approach. These demeaning comments were accompanied by sneering, disrespect and condescending laughter. In addition, Ms. Ewers began to scrutinize Miramontes' every move, continuously inquiring of other employees as to Miramontes' whereabouts and activities and continuously making condescending comments related to Miramontes' pregnancy status. On August 12, 2008, Ms. Miramontes was terminated by Ms. Ewers who gave Miramontes three conflicting reasons for her termination: (1) budget cuts; (2) her "numbers"; and (3) her attendance. After Miramontes was terminated from Madeira, scathing emails written by Debi Ewers surfaced. These emails were not private and the emails confirm that Miramontes as well as another pregnant employee at Madeira were the subjects of slanderous comments related to their pregnancy and confirm the pretext of Miramontes' termination. Miramontes seeks, among other remedies: (a) general and special damages including loss of income and benefits according to proof; (b) punitive damages; and (c) reasonable attorneys' fees and pre-judgment interest pursuant to Government Code § 12965(b).

B. Madeira's Contentions.

1. Madeira is a leader in the high-end embroidery thread industry. Based in New Hampshire, Madeira currently operates only two facilities in California, located in Fresno and Ontario. Miramontes is a former employee of Madeira. In her Complaint, Miramontes alleges that her August 12, 2008 termination was the result of pregnancy discrimination. Madeira denies this assertion and contends that Miramontes was not the victim of discrimination on any basis. Rather, Miramontes suffered only the consequences of her own sub-par performance and consistent refusal to abide by company policy. Based on her performance issues, she was selected for termination in connection with company-wide budget cuts.

2. In its Counter-Claim, Madeira asserts that Miramontes, either alone or in connection with another disgruntled former employee(s), obtained unauthorized access to another employee's computer in hopes of gathering documents for use in a claim against Madeira. Accordingly, Madeira asserts a single claim for relief against Miramontes for violation of California Penal Code Section 502. Madeira seeks, among other remedies: (a) an order directing Miramontes to return all Madeira property in her possession, custody or control, and (b) damages according to proof, including punitive damages, reasonable attorneys' fees and pre-judgment interest.

IV. Orders Re Amendments To Pleadings.

1. The parties do not anticipate amending the pleadings at this time.

V. Factual Summary.

A. Admitted Facts Which Are Deemed Proven Without Further Proceedings.

1. Martha Miramontes commenced employment at Madeira September 6, 2005.

2. Miramontes' employment at Madeira ended on August 12, 2010.

3. During her employment, Ms. Miramontes became pregnant.

B. Contested Facts.

1. All remaining issues of fact are disputed.

VI. Legal Issues.

A. Uncontested.

1. Jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

2. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

3. The parties agree that the substantive law of the State of California provides the rule of decision as to supplemental claims.

4. At all times during her employment with Madeira Plaintiff was an "at-will" employee.

B. Contested.

1. All remaining legal issues are disputed.

VII. Consent to Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction.

1. The parties have not consented to transfer the case to the Magistrate Judge for all purposes, including trial.

VIII. Corporate Identification Statement.

1. Any non-governmental corporate party to any action in this court shall file a statement identifying all its parent corporations and listing any entity that owns 10% or more of the party's equity securities. A party shall file the statement with its initial pleading filed in this court and shall supplement the statement within a reasonable time of any change in the information.

IX. Discovery Plan and Cut-Off Date.

1. The parties have completed their initial disclosures.

2. The parties are ordered to complete all non-expert discovery on or before May 31, 2011.

3. The parties are directed to disclose all expert witnesses, in writing, on or before June 1, 2011. Any rebuttal or supplemental expert disclosures will be made on or before July 1, 2011. The parties will comply with the provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2) regarding their expert designations. Local Rule 16-240(a) notwithstanding, the written designation of experts shall be made pursuant to F. R. Civ. P. Rule 26(a)(2), (A) and (B) and shall include all information required thereunder. Failure to designate experts in compliance with this order may result in the Court excluding the testimony or other evidence offered through such experts that are not disclosed pursuant to this order.

4. The parties are ordered to complete all discovery, including experts, on or before July 29, 2011.

5. The provisions of F. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(4) shall apply to all discovery relating to experts and their opinions. Experts may be fully prepared to be examined on all subjects and opinions included in the designation. Failure to comply will result in the imposition of sanctions.

X. Pre-Trial Motion Schedule.

1. All Non-Dispositive Pre-Trial Motions, including any discovery motions, will be filed on or before August 15, 2011, and heard on September 16, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston in her courtroom located at 1300 18th Street, Suite A, Bakersfield, California.

2. In scheduling such motions, the Magistrate Judge may grant applications for an order shortening time pursuant to Local Rule 142(d). However, if counsel does not obtain an order shortening time, the notice of motion must comply with Local Rule 251.

3. All Dispositive Pre-Trial Motions are to be filed no later than August 30, 2011, and will be heard on October 3, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. before the Honorable Oliver W. Wanger, United States District Judge, in Courtroom 3, 7th Floor. In scheduling such motions, counsel shall comply with Local Rule 230.

XI. Pre-Trial Conference Date.

1. November 7, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3, 7th Floor, before the Honorable Oliver W. Wanger, United States District Judge.

2. The parties are ordered to file a Joint Pre-Trial Statement pursuant to Local Rule 281(a)(2).

3. Counsel's attention is directed to Rules 281 and 282 of the Local Rules of Practice for the Eastern District of California, as to the obligations of counsel in preparing for the pre-trial conference. The Court will insist upon strict compliance with those rules.

XII. Motions - Hard Copy.

1. The parties shall submit one (1) courtesy paper copy to the Court of any motions filed. Exhibits shall be marked with protruding numbered or lettered tabs so that the Court can easily identify such exhibits.

XIII. Trial Date.

1. December 13, 2011, at the hour of 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3, 7th Floor, before the Honorable Oliver W. Wanger, United States District Judge.

2. This is a jury trial.

3. Counsels' Estimate Of Trial Time:

a. Three to five days.

4. Counsels' attention is directed to Local Rules of Practice for the Eastern District of California, Rule 285.

XIV. Settlement Conference.

1. A Settlement Conference is scheduled for August 3, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. before the Honorable Jennifer L. Thurston, United States Magistrate Judge whose chambers is located at 1200 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 120, Bakersfield, California.

2. Unless otherwise permitted in advance by the Court, the attorneys who will try the case shall appear at the Settlement Conference with the parties and the person or persons having full authority to negotiate and settle the case on any terms at the conference.

3. Permission for a party [not attorney] to attend by telephone may be granted upon request, by letter, with a copy to the other parties, if the party [not attorney] lives and works outside the Eastern District of California, and attendance in person would constitute a hardship. If telephone attendance is allowed, the party must be immediately available throughout the conference until excused regardless of time zone differences. Any other special arrangements desired in cases where settlement authority rests with a governing body, shall also be proposed in advance by letter copied to all other parties.

4. Confidential Settlement Conference Statement.

At least five (5) days prior to the Settlement Conference the parties shall submit, directly to the Magistrate Judge's chambers, a confidential settlement conference statement. The statement should not be filed with the Clerk of the Court nor served on any other party. Each statement shall be clearly marked "confidential" with the date and time of the Settlement Conference indicated prominently thereon. Counsel are urged to request the return of their statements if settlement is not achieved and if such a request is not made the Court will dispose of the statement.

5. The Confidential Settlement Conference Statement shall include the following:

a. A brief statement of the facts of the case.

b. A brief statement of the claims and defenses, i.e., statutory or other grounds upon which the claims are founded; a forthright evaluation of the parties' likelihood of prevailing on the claims and defenses; and a description of the major issues in dispute.

c. A summary of the proceedings to date.

d. An estimate of the cost and time to be

expended for further discovery, pre-trial and trial.

e. The relief sought.

f. The parties' position on settlement, including present demands and offers and a history of past settlement discussions, offers and demands.

XV. Request For Bifurcation, Appointment Of Special Master, Or Other Techniques To Shorten Trial.

1. None.

XVI. Related Matters Pending.

1. There are no related matters.

XVII. Compliance With Federal Procedure.

1. The Court requires compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of Practice for the Eastern District of California. To aid the court in the efficient administration of this case, all counsel are directed to familiarize themselves with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of Practice of the Eastern District of California, and keep abreast of any amendments thereto.

XVIII. Effect Of This Order.

1. The foregoing order represents the best estimate of the court and counsel as to the agenda most suitable to bring this case to resolution. The trial date reserved is specifically reserved for this case. If the parties determine at any time that the schedule outlined in this order cannot be met, counsel are ordered to notify the court immediately of that fact so that adjustments may be made, either by stipulation or by subsequent scheduling conference.

2. Stipulations extending the deadlines contained herein will not be considered unless they are accompanied by affidavits or declarations, and where appropriate attached exhibits, which establish good cause for granting the relief requested.

3. Failure to comply with this order may result in the imposition of sanctions.



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