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Clovia Delgado v. Facilities

April 21, 2011

CLOVIA DELGADO
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FACILITIES, INC., AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER UNITED

Plaintiff, Clovia Delgado ("Plaintiff") alleges several claims against Defendant, United Facilities ("Defendant"), including disability discrimination, wrongful termination, and violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") and the California Family Rights Act ("CFRA"). Defendant has filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(c).*fn1 (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff has filed an opposition to this motion. (ECF No. 6.).

For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion will be granted.*fn2

BACKGROUND*fn3

Plaintiff began working for Defendant in July 2003. On or about October 2008, Plaintiff took a medical leave of absence from her employment after she began experiencing problems with her back. Plaintiff was released to return to work effective January 2009, but was instructed by her health care provider to stretch once every hour. Defendant did not, at that point, have Plaintiff return to work.

A letter to Plaintiff from Defendant's human resources manager, Renna Bliss, dated April 20, 2009 referenced a previous conversation between the two in which Plaintiff said she was "hoping to have [her] doctor release [her] without restrictions as [she] believed she could do the job."*fn4 (Decl. of Renna Bliss Ex. B.)

Ms. Bliss noted in the letter that Defendant had not received any follow-up information from Plaintiff or her physician, and that she had used all of the time off work allotted to her under the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as additional time permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Id.

Ms. Bliss' letter requested an update in writing from Plaintiff's physician regarding her condition and whether she would be able to return to work without restrictions. Id.

On December 28, 2009, nearly a year after Plaintiff alleges her physician released her back to work with restrictions, Defendant permitted Plaintiff to return to work. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant refused to allow her to return to work until that time because her health care providers required her to stretch every hour. Plaintiff maintains that the reason she was finally permitted to return to work was only because her health care providers determined she no longer had any work restrictions. She subsequently filed the present lawsuit which, as stated above, alleges physical disability discrimination, wrongful termination, and violations of California Government Code § 12940(m) and (n) and the California Family Rights Act.

STANDARD

A motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) challenges the legal sufficiency of the opposing party's pleadings. See, e.g. Westlands Water Dist. v. Bureau of Reclamation, 805 F. Supp. 1503, 1506 (E.D. Cal. 1992).

Any party may move for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) after the pleadings are closed but within such time as to not delay trial. A motion for judgment on the pleadings should only be granted if, accepting as true all material allegations contained in the nonmoving party's pleadings, the moving party "'clearly establishes that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that he [or she] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Doleman v. Meiji Mut. Life Ins. Co., 727 F.2d 1480, 1482 (9th Cir. 1984) (quoting Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1368 (1969)); Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1989)). Judgment on the pleadings is also proper when there is either a "lack of cognizable legal theory" or the "absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

The standard for evaluating a motion for judgment on the pleadings is essentially the same as the standard applied to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989). Rule 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," to "give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

Although "a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion" need not contain "detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 2869 (1986)). A plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure ยง 1216 (3d ed. 2004) ("[T]he ...


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