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Omar Rodriguez v. United Parcel Service

May 9, 2011

OMAR RODRIGUEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., DOES 1 THROUGH 5, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Whaley United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING, IN PART, AND GRANTING, IN PART, DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 35). A telephonic hearing on the motion was held on May 6, 2011. Plaintiff was represented by Julia Haus. Defendant was represented by Elizabeth Brown.

In his complaint, Plaintiff is asserting four claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEMA): (1) disability discrimination; (2) failure to engage in the interactive process; (3) failure to accommodate; and (4) retaliation. Plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Defendant moves for summary judgment based on the following arguments:

(1) Plaintiff's claims are barred by the one-year statute of limitations;

(2) Plaintiff was not a "qualified" individual with a disability;

(3) Plaintiff cannot show that UPS took any action against him because of his disability;

(4) Plaintiff obstructed the interactive process by not responding to UPS's request for information;

(5) Plaintiff cannot identify any reasonable accommodation that the interactive process would have produced;

(6) Plaintiff cannot show a prima facie case of retaliation because he has no evidence of any retaliatory animus or causal connection between his protected activity and any adverse action;

(7) UPS provided a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason in not returning Plaintiff to work in January, 2007;

(8) Plaintiff cannot show "clear and convincing evidence" of oppression, fraud, or malice "on the part of an officer, director, or managing agent," as required by the California statute for the jury to award punitive damages.

The Court agrees with Defendant that Plaintiff cannot establish a prima facie case of retaliation because he has not presented evidence of retaliatory animus or causal connection between his protected activity and an adverse employment action. The FEHA makes it unlawful "for any employer . . . to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under [FEHA] or because the person has filed a complaint . . . under this Act." Cal. Gov. Code § 12940(h). Plaintiff argues that a reasonable jury could find retaliation based in that Defendant required Plaintiff to resign in order to settle the workers' compensation claim because he requested an accommodation. Such an inference would be too speculative for the jury to infer retaliation on the part of Defendant. As such, the Court grants summary judgment in favor of Defendant with respect to Plaintiff's claim of retaliation under the FEHA.

Likewise, the Court agrees with Defendant that Plaintiff has not presented clear and convincing evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice on the part of an officer, director, or managing ...


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