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Kathryn Baxter-White v. Jessica C. Rentto

June 6, 2011

KATHRYN BAXTER-WHITE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JESSICA C. RENTTO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Thomas J. Whelan United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS WITH LEAVE TO AMEND [DOC. 5]

On September 20, 2010, Plaintiff Kathryn Baxter-White filed this lawsuit against Defendants California State University ("CSU") and ten individuals (collectively, "Defendants"). Defendants now move to dismiss. Plaintiff opposes.

The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral. See Civ. L.R. 7.1(d.1). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. 5.)

I. BACKGROUND

On November 14, 2007, Plaintiff began her temporary appointment as an Accounting Technician to do medical billing at CSU's Student Health Services ("SHS") on the San Diego State University campus. (Compl. ¶¶ 16-17 [Doc. 1].) The appointment was set to end on June 30, 2008. (Id. ¶ 17.) At the time she was offered the position, Plaintiff was told that "the position being offered was designated as temporary" and that she "would be made permanent in four years." (Id. ¶ 16.) On July 1, 2008, CSU reappointed Plaintiff for another year from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. (Id. ¶ 17.)

Plaintiff's duties included billing the Family PACT program-a federally funded program to assist low-income patients with contraception and sexually transmitted infections-administered by Medi-Cal. (Compl. ¶ 19.) Students at the CSU could seek such assistance at SHS. (Id.) When students enrolled in the Family PACT program to receive treatment or contraceptive supplies, they are not billed. Instead, SHS bills Family PACT through its contractor, EDS. (Id.)

From July to September 2008, Plaintiff brought several of her concerns to her lead and supervisor at SHS regarding suspected improper or illegal billing practices. (Compl.

¶¶ 20--21, 23.) However, they did little to address or investigate these concerns. (See id. ¶¶ 21, 23--25.) Thereafter, Plaintiff presented the issues to the acting director of SHS in two memos which also questioned the competency of her supervisor in how he handled these and other issues. (Id. ¶ 24--25.)

On September 16, 2008, a meeting was held to evaluate Plaintiff's performance. (Compl. ¶ 28.) Eventually, it was decided that "counseling [Plaintiff] to stop investigating things would not work and they instead decided to terminate her." (Id. ¶ 29.) The grounds for her termination included working outside her scope of responsibilities, insubordination, and excessive absences and tardiness. (Id.) Furthermore, on September 22, 2008, the acting director sent Plaintiff a letter stating that "he was satisfied with the legality of billing." (Id. ¶ 30.) And on September 23, 2008, an EDS field representative wrote to Plaintiff's supervisor that "the billing practices were compliant." (Id.)

On September 23, 2008, Plaintiff was terminated. (Compl. ¶ 31.)

Shortly thereafter, on September 29, 2008, Plaintiff filed an internal complaint with the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources ("VCHR") alleging that she was terminated in retaliation for complaining about the alleged illegal billing practices. (Compl. ¶ 34.) After further investigation, the VCHR found that CSU had not retaliated against Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 37.) Plaintiff submitted a written response to the finding. (Id. ¶ 29.) However, on March 16, 2009, the VCHR found again that CSU had not retaliated against Plaintiff in a Final Letter of Determination. (Id. ¶ 40.)

On June 9, 2009, Plaintiff filed a civil complaint in San Diego Superior Court against defendants CSU, Thomas Wilson, Joanne Stroud, and Shelby Stanfill that is still pending. On September 20, 2010, Plaintiff filed this civil complaint against the same defendants as well as seven additional individual defendants asserting claims for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, injunctive relief for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and declaratory relief. Defendants now move to dismiss the complaint, and Plaintiff opposes.

II. STANDARD

The court must dismiss a cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the complaint's sufficiency. See N. Star Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n., 720 F.2d 578, 581 (9th Cir. 1983). All material allegations in the complaint, "even if doubtful in fact," are assumed to be true. Id. The court must assume the truth of all factual allegations and must "construe them in light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Gompper v. ...


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