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Steven Morra v. Ryder Truck Rental

June 8, 2012

STEVEN MORRA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
RYDER TRUCK RENTAL, INC.,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S RENEWED MOTION TO REMAND ACTION TO STATE COURT (Document 22)

Plaintiff Steven Morra ("Plaintiff") filed a renewed motion to remand this action to the Fresno County Superior Court on April 10, 2012. The motion was heard on May 25, 2012, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. William Smith appeared telephonically on behalf of Plaintiff. Christopher Hoffman appeared telephonically on behalf of Defendant Ryder Truck Rental, Inc. ("Ryder").

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed the underlying complaint for disability discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and labor code violations in Fresno County Superior Court on October 17, 2011. Ryder filed an answer and a cross-complaint against Plaintiff on December 1, 2011. Ryder removed the action to this Court on December 2, 2011, pursuant to this Court's diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b).

On December 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed his initial motion for remand. The Court denied the motion on February 14, 2012. Doc. 20. On April 10, 2012, Plaintiff filed a second motion to remand. On May 5, 2012, Ryder filed an opposition, and Plaintiff replied on May 14, 2012.

SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

According to the Complaint, Plaintiff worked as a diesel technician for Ryder beginning in October 2003. During his employment, Plaintiff received satisfactory performance evaluations and regular pay increases.

Plaintiff worked at Ryder's facility in Fresno for six years. In October 2009, Plaintiff agreed to work temporarily at Ryder's facility in Tulare for two weeks. Ryder never sent Plaintiff back to Fresno and refused his requests to return to Fresno.

Ryder's Tulare facility was extremely busy and Plaintiff regularly worked Sundays, overtime hours and took work calls at home. He was not given an opportunity to take rest breaks and frequently did not take lunch breaks. Plaintiff complained to Ryder about his working conditions, including the failure to pay overtime, the failure to allow him rest and meal breaks and the failure to provide a safe work environment. Ryder ignored his complaints.

In April 2010, Plaintiff suffered an injury to his neck and back while lifting a turbo off a truck at work. A health care provider gave him pain medication. Plaintiff informed Ryder about the injury, but Ryder took no action. Plaintiff continued to work with pain.

On September 12, 2010, a Sunday, Ryder assigned Plaintiff to a road call. When Plaintiff arrived, he put his service truck in "park" and got out. The truck lurched forward and slammed into another truck. Plaintiff jumped back into the truck to turn off the engine and his leg was "crushed between the door and the fender." Complaint ¶ 14. Plaintiff was in pain, but continued to work. He did not know the brake was inoperative.

Plaintiff reported the leg injury to Ryder and filled out a workers' compensation claim. Plaintiff's supervisor assigned him to light duty, which consisted primarily of paperwork. Plaintiff requested his accumulated vacation time, but Ryder refused, claiming it was too busy for Plaintiff to take time off work.

In mid-October 2010, Plaintiff informed Ryder that his health care provider recommended surgery, that he would not be able to lift or bend and that he might need to be off work for nine months. Shortly after, on October 18, 2010, Ryder terminated Plaintiff's employment. Ryder claimed that the termination was based on Plaintiff's involvement in the accident on September 12, 2010. Plaintiff had never been in any other accident during his employment with Ryder. He was "falsely accused of knowing that the brake was inoperative." Complaint ¶ 17.

On October 7, 2011, Plaintiff filed charges with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH") against Ryder. Plaintiff anticipates receiving a ...


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