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Larry Walker v. City of Los Angeles

December 9, 2010

LARRY WALKER
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Gary Allen Feess

LINKS: 56, 61

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

None None

Proceedings: (In Chambers)

ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

On April 30, 2009, Plaintiff Larry Walker ("Walker) commenced this action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against his employer, the City of Los Angeles ("the City"), based on his improper termination after he had a stroke. (Docket No. 1, Not. of Removal, Ex. A [Original Compl.].) The City removed the case to this Court on May 29, 2009. (Not. of Removal.) Walker subsequently filed first, second, and third amended complaints. (Docket Nos. 14, 30, 31.) On January 26, 2010, the Court dismissed with prejudice four of the Third Amended Complaint's (TAC) causes of action, leaving only claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause, breach of contract, and invasion of privacy. (Docket No. 35, 1/26/10 Order at 4--13.) The parties stipulated to dismiss Walker's Equal Protection Clause claim, and the Court accordingly dismissed that claim on October 28, 2010. (Docket Nos. 48, 49.) The remaining claims allege (1) breach of an oral agreement that Walker would not be demoted, discharged, or otherwise disciplined except for good cause and with notice and an opportunity to be heard and that he would be evaluated in a fair and objective manner; and (2) invasion of privacy for publicly telling others that Walker had had a stroke. (TAC ¶¶ 147--66.)

On November 3, 2010, after the Court had dismissed Walker's sole remaining federal claim, Walker filed a motion to remand this case to state court. (Docket No. 50.) The Court denied the motion on the ground that Walker's breach of contract claim actually presented a federal question because it was completely preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act, which provides exclusive federal jurisdiction over "[s]uits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization." (Docket No. 62, 11/29/10 Order, at 2, 4.)

Presently before the Court is the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Walker filed no opposition to that motion, and instead filed only a Request for a Continuance under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f). The Court DENIES Plaintiff's request, GRANTS Defendants' motion in part, and REMANDS Platiniff's invasion of privacy claim to state court.

II. DISCUSSION

LEGAL STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2). Thus, when addressing a motion for summary judgment, the Court must decide whether there exists "any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The moving party has the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of fact for trial. Id. at 256. The moving party can meet this burden by presenting evidence establishing the absence of a genuine issue or by "pointing out to the district court . . . that there is an absence of evidence" supporting a fact for which the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). To defeat summary judgment, the nonmoving party must put forth "affirmative evidence" that shows "that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256--57. The nonmoving party cannot prevail by "simply show[ing] that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, the nonmoving party must show that evidence in the record could lead a rational trier of fact to find for it. See id. at 587. In reviewing the record, the Court must believe the nonmoving party's evidence, and must draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

APPLICATION

1.BREACH OF ...


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