Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Luz Maria Ortiz v. Sodexho Operations

September 27, 2011

LUZ MARIA ORTIZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SODEXHO OPERATIONS, LLC; SODEXHO, INC. AND AFFILIATED COMPANIES; ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge

ORDER: GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Presently before the Court are Defendant Sodexo, Inc. and Sodexo Operations, LLC's*fn1 motions for summary judgment in two cases: Ortiz v. Sodexho Operations, LLC, Case No. 11-CV-1295 JLS (RBB) [hereinafter Ortiz I], and Ortiz v. Sodexho, Inc., Case No. 10-CV-2224 JLS (RBB) [hereinafter Ortiz II]. (Ortiz I ECF No. 55; Ortiz II ECF No. 32.) Having considered the parties' arguments and the law, the Court GRANTS Sodexo's motions.

BACKGROUND

1. Ortiz I

Plaintiff filed Ortiz I on March 1, 2010, in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles. (Ortiz I Notice of Removal ¶ 1, Ortiz I ECF No. 1.) Sodexo removed the case to the United States District Court for the Central District of California on June 10, 2010. (Ortiz I Notice of Removal.) The operative first amended complaint alleges nine claims against Sodexo for violations of the California Labor Code and California Business and Professions Code. (Ortiz I FAC, Ortiz I ECF No. 29.)

On January 7, 2011, Sodexo moved for summary judgment in Ortiz I, contending that the entire action is barred by the doctrine of judicial estoppel. (Mem. ISO Ortiz I MSJ 1, Ortiz I ECF No. 57.) The hearing on Sodexo's summary judgment motion was continued multiple times (Ortiz I ECF Nos. 61, 67, 73, 75, 77), and Judge Manuel L. Real eventually declined to rule on the motion. (Ortiz I ECF No. 80.) Instead, he transferred the case to this district (Ortiz I ECF No. 81), where it originally was assigned to Judge Irma E. Gonzalez. (Ortiz I ECF No. 83.) Then, under Civil Local Rule 40.1(d), the case was transferred to this Court. (Ortiz I ECF No. 89.) Accordingly, Sodexo's summary judgment motion is now pending before this Court. (See Ortiz I ECF Nos. 90, 93.)

2. Ortiz II

Plaintiff filed Ortiz II on June 14, 2010, in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego. (Ortiz II Notice of Removal ¶ 1, Ortiz II ECF No. 1.) After Plaintiff disclosed that she is seeking more than $1,000,000 in damages (Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II Notice of Removal Ex. E), Sodexo removed the case to this Court on October 27, 2010. (Ortiz II Notice of Removal.) The operative complaint alleges two claims for sexual harassment and wrongful discharge against Sodexo and an individual defendant, named in the complaint as "Tom." (Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II Notice of Removal Ex. A (Ortiz II Compl.), ECF No. 1-1.)

Sodexo moved to transfer Ortiz II to the Central District of California on November 9, 2011. (Ortiz II ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff responded to Sodexo's change of venue motion and concurrently moved to remand the case to state court on the ground that complete diversity of citizenship did not exist. (Ortiz II ECF Nos. 10--11.) The Court took the motions under submission and issued a written order denying both motions. (Ortiz II ECF No. 38.) On July 8, 2011, Sodexo filed the instant motion for summary judgment. (Ortiz II ECF No. 32.)

3. Ortiz Bankruptcy

On April 8, 2010-after she filed Ortiz I (Ortiz I Notice of Removal ¶ 1) and obtained right-to-sue notices for the Ortiz II claims (Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II Notice of Removal Exs. F--H)-Plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. (First Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Ex. D, Ortiz I ECF No. 55-1; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Ex. K, Ortiz II ECF Nos. 32-2 to 32-4.) On July 13, 2010, the Bankruptcy Court granted Plaintiff a full discharge of debts. (First Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Ex. E; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Ex. L.)

In the schedule of assets accompanying her bankruptcy petition, Plaintiff failed to disclose the claims asserted in Ortiz I and Ortiz II and affirmatively represented that she had no such claims. (First Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Ex. D (Schedule B, question 21 and Statement of Financial Affairs, question 4(a)); Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Ex. K (same).) At her deposition in Ortiz I, Plaintiff acknowledged that she knew about her lawsuits against Sodexo when her bankruptcy petition was filed. (First Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Ex. D (Ortiz I Dep.), at 58, Oct. 25, 2010; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Ex. E (Ortiz I Dep.), at 58, Oct. 25, 2010.) She allegedly disclosed the claims to her bankruptcy attorneys but did not know that the claims should be listed on her statement of assets. (Ortiz I Dep. 58; accord Ortiz Decl. ISO Opp'n to Ortiz I MSJ ¶¶ 5--7, Ortiz I ECF No. 64; Ortiz Decl. ISO Opp'n to Ortiz II MSJ ¶¶ 5--7, Ortiz II ECF No. 35-1.)

On March 25, 2011, while Sodexo's motion for summary judgment was pending in Ortiz I, Plaintiff moved to reopen her bankruptcy case for the purpose of "[a]mending Schedules B[ and] C[,] and Statement of Financial Affairs to include two pending lawsuits against a former employer." (Third Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Ex. F, Ortiz I ECF No. 91-1; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Ex. M; accord Third Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Exs. G--I; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Exs. N--P.) The Acting United States Trustee filed a limited opposition supporting Plaintiff's motion to reopen but requesting appointment of the prior Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee, Nancy Wolf. (Third Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Exs. J--K; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Exs. Q--R.) On May 16, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court granted Plaintiff's motion to reopen and reappointed Ms. Wolf as the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee. (Third Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ Exs. L--O; Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ Exs. S--V.) Since the reopening of Plaintiff's bankruptcy case, Ms. Wolf has exercised control over Plaintiff's lawsuits against Sodexo, including engaging-through counsel-in settlement discussions with Sodexo. (Third Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ ¶ 4; Suppl. Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ ¶ 2.)

On September 23, 2011, Plaintiff and Defendants both filed late Declarations stating that an open auction of Plaintiff's claims had been held on September 22, 2011, before Bankruptcy Judge Laura S. Taylor. (Fifth Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ, Ortiz I ECF No. 102; Ortiz Aff., Ortiz I ECF No. 104; Second Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz II MSJ, Ortiz II ECF No. 47; Ortiz Aff., Ortiz II ECF No. 49.) The winning bid for the claims was made by Rastegar & Matern ("R&M"), Ms. Ortiz's counsel of record in Ortiz I and Ortiz II. (Fifth Wohl Decl. ISO Ortiz I MSJ ΒΆ 3.) Under the terms of the bid, R&M agreed to pay $62,500 for ownership of Ms. Ortiz's claims in Ortiz I and Ortiz II, and Ms. Ortiz waived the rights to any distribution from the Ortiz bankruptcy estate. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.