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Chrisma Griggs v. Tulare District Hospital Michael Bullock and Craig Tanaka

April 18, 2011

CHRISMA GRIGGS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TULARE DISTRICT HOSPITAL MICHAEL BULLOCK AND CRAIG TANAKA
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL OF RECORD , ORDER ADVISING PLAINTIFF OF STATUS CONFERENCE SET FOR APRIL 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

(Document 35)

INTRODUCTION

On February 17, 2011, Plaintiff's counsel, William J. Smith, Esq., of Smith and Bryant ("Counsel") filed a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Plaintiff, Chrisma Griggs ("Plaintiff"). (Doc. 15). No opposition to the motion was filed. The motion heard on April 15, 2011 at 9:30 am. Attorney William Smith appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Sharilyn Payne appeared on behalf of Defendant Tulare District Hospital, and Carrie Lin appeared on behalf of Defendant Sodexo.*fn1

Plaintiff did not appear. Upon a consideration of the pleadings, the Motion for Withdrawal of Counsel is GRANTED.

FACTS

A complaint was filed in this action on March 8, 2010. The complaint alleges Defendants, Tulare District Hospital, Michael Bullock and Craig Tanaka engaged in sexual harassment, retaliation and sexual discrimination against Plaintiff. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that she was employed by Tulare District HealthCare Systems and Defendants Michael Bullock and Craig Tanaka were her supervisors in March 2007 at the time of the alleged unlawful conduct. Plaintiff contends Defendants engaged in unlawful employment practices including making offensive and unwanted sexually-oriented comments to Plaintiff, leering at Plaintiff in a sexually offensive manner, and touching Plaintiff's body. Plaintiff alleges that when she rejected the harassment, she was subjected to unjust discipline, continued harassment, and constructive discharge. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Tulare District Hospital failed to provide her with a workplace that was free of discrimination and harassment, and that she suffered emotional distress as result of Defendants' conduct.

The complaint alleges a cause of action for sexual harassment under a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq (hereinafter, "Title VII") and a cause of action for sexual harassment pursuant to California Government Code § 12900 et seq. Plaintiff is seeking various forms of relief including, but not limited to, front and back pay, employment benefits, emotional distress damages, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs, injunctive relief and any other just relief.

Defendant Tulare District Hospital filed an answer on June 28, 2010, as well as a cross-claim against Sodexo America, LLC, on September 22, 2010. (Docs. 12 and 17). Sodexo America was an independent contractor and the alleged employer of Defendant Craig Tanaka. Defendants Craig Tanaka and Michael Bullard have not appeared in this action.

DISCUSSION

Local Rule 182(d) provides:

Subject to the provisions of subsection (c), an attorney who has appeared may not withdraw leaving the client in propria persona without leave of Court upon noticed motion and notice to the client and all other persons who have appeared. The attorney shall provide an affidavit stating the current or last known address or addresses of the client and the efforts made to notify the client of the motion to withdraw. Withdrawal as attorney is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, and the attorney shall conform to the requirements of those Rules. The authority and duty of the attorney of record shall continue until relieved by order of the Court issued hereunder. Leave to withdraw may be granted subject to such appropriate conditions as the Court deems fit.

L.R. 180(d).

Counsel's Motion to Withdraw contains a declaration filed by William J. Smith dated February 17, 2011, which indicates that there has been a breakdown of communication between counsel and Plaintiff. (Doc. 37). Plaintiff has refused to participate in her deposition because she is eight months pregnant and she has failed to take the advice of counsel. At the hearing, counsel indicated has not had any contact with Plaintiff in approximately six weeks despite numerous attempts to contact her via telephone and e-mail. Counsel ...


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