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Jane Doe v. Lincoln Unified School District et al

January 27, 2011

JANE DOE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
LINCOLN UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



(Super. Ct. No. 39-2008-00195383-CU-WM-STK)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hull ,j.

Doe v. Lincoln Unified School Dist.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Fictitiously-named plaintiff Jane Doe is a permanent, certificated teacher employed by defendant Lincoln Unified School District (the District). After plaintiff was placed on involuntary medical leave due to concerns over her mental fitness, she brought this action against the District and others to force them to initiate proceedings under Education Code section 44942, which provides a detailed procedure for determining if a teacher is suffering from a mental illness and requires that the teacher be placed on paid administrative leave during the process. (Further undesignated section references are to the Education Code.) Approximately one month later, the District voluntarily initiated such proceedings. The trial court ultimately concluded defendants violated section 44942 and issued a peremptory writ of mandate requiring defendants to pay plaintiff her full salary during the period she was forced to use accrued medical leave credits.

In Doe v. Lincoln Unified School Dist. (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 758 (Doe v. Lincoln I), we affirmed the judgment of the trial court, concluding that, under the circumstances, the District was required to initiate proceedings under section 44942 rather than force plaintiff to use accrued medical leave credits.

Plaintiff sought an award of attorney fees under section 44944, subdivision (e)(2), and Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5. The trial court concluded plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees under the former but not the latter, and awarded her $29,715. Defendants appeal.

We conclude plaintiff is not entitled to attorney fees under section 44944 which, by its express terms, does not apply to proceedings under section 44942. We therefore reverse the order awarding attorney fees.

Facts and Proceedings

The facts of this matter may be briefly stated. A more detailed description can be found in Doe v. Lincoln I.

Plaintiff is a permanent certificated teacher who has been employed by the District for many years. Following an incident in the spring of 2008, plaintiff was placed on paid administrative leave. (Doe v. Lincoln I, supra, 188 Cal.App.4th at p. 763.) On August 13, 2008, the District requested that plaintiff provide a fitness for duty certificate before the start of the upcoming school year. Instead, plaintiff demanded that the District commence proceedings under section 44942. (Ibid.)

At the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, plaintiff remained on paid administrative leave. However, on September 18, the District notified plaintiff she was being placed on medical leave, thereby requiring her to use accrued medical leave credits. On October 9, plaintiff filed this action against the District, the District's governing board (the Board), and the District's superintendent, seeking a writ of mandate to compel defendants to proceed under section 44942. On November 12, the Board voted to proceed under section 44942 voluntarily. (Doe v. Lincoln I, supra, 188 Cal.App.4th at p. 764.)

The trial court ultimately granted plaintiff's petition for writ of mandate, concluding defendants violated section 44942 by not invoking that section before placing plaintiff on medical leave. The court issued a peremptory writ of mandate requiring defendants to pay plaintiff her full salary during the period she was forced to use ...


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