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Anita Washington v. California City Correction Center; Cca of Tennessee

July 2, 2012

ANITA WASHINGTON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA CITY CORRECTION CENTER; CCA OF TENNESSEE, LLC; AND DOES 1 TO 20,
DEFENDANTS.



ORDER RE: MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION (Doc. 60)

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant CCA of Tennessee, LLC (erroneously sued as California City Correction Center) has filed a second motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication in the alternative. For reasons discussed below, summary adjudication of the causes of action for discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination shall be granted in favor of Defendant; summary adjudication of the cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress shall be denied.

II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Court refers the parties to the orders issued April 25, 2011, May 10, 2012 and May 25, 2012 for a partial chronology of the proceedings and a discussion of the law applicable to employment discrimination cases. On February 22, 2011, plaintiff Anita Washington (hereinafter "Plaintiff") filed the third and final iteration of her first amended complaint against defendants California City Correction Center, CCA of Tennessee, LLC and Does 1 to 20, asserting causes of action for (1) discrimination, (2) wrongful termination in violation of public policy, (3) failure to prevent discrimination, (4) retaliation, (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress and (6) defamation. The first through fifth causes of action were asserted solely against defendant CCA of Tennessee, LLC (hereinafter "Defendant"); the sixth cause of action was asserted against all defendants.

On February 28, 2011, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the sixth cause of action for defamation pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Court (Wanger, J.) granted Defendant's motion to dismiss the sixth cause of action with leave to amend on April 25, 2011 and directed Plaintiff to file a second amended complaint within ten days of entry of the order. Washington v. California City Correction Center, slip copy, 2011 WL 1566742 (E.D.Cal. April 25, 2011) (Washington I), at *5-*6. No second amended complaint was ever filed by Plaintiff.

On March 30, 2012, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication in the alternative pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. In an order issued May 9, 2012, the Court granted summary adjudication in favor of Defendant as to the second and fourth causes of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy and retaliation, but denied summary adjudication as to the first, third and fifth causes of action for discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Washington v. California City Correction Center, slip copy, 2012 WL 1657579 (E.D.Cal. May 10, 2012) (Washington II).

On May 21, 2012, Defendant filed an ex parte application for order reopening time to file a motion for judgment on the pleadings and/or motion to dismiss, contending such motions were necessary and appropriate because the remaining claims were outside the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. In particular, Defendant contended the discrimination-related causes of action were barred under the one-year statute of limitations for exhaustion of administrative remedies under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA, Cal. Gov. Code, §§ 12900 et seq.). Defendant further contended the cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress was barred by the exclusive remedies available under California's Workers' Compensation Act (WCA, Cal. Lab. Code, §§ 3200 et seq.). Neither issue was raised in Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

On May 22, 2012, the Court reviewed Defendant's ex parte application and found it raised significant issues. Accordingly, the Court directed Plaintiff to file a response.

On May 24, 2012, Plaintiff filed her response to Defendant's ex parte application, contending there were actionable adverse employment actions occurring within FEHA's one-year statute of limitations. Plaintiff further contended emotional distress injuries resulting from unlawful discrimination are exempted from the WCA's exclusivity provisions.

On May 25, 2012, the Court granted Defendant's ex parte application conditionally for the limited purpose of conducting a second round of summary judgment proceedings only as to issues of FEHA statute of limitations and workers' compensation exclusivity. Washington v. California City Correction Center, slip copy, 2012 WL 1910099 (E.D.Cal. May 25, 2012) (Washington III). On June 11, 2012, Defendant filed its second motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication in the alternative. Plaintiff filed his opposition to Defendant's motion on June 25, 2012.

III. DISCUSSION

A. FEHA statute of limitations -- As a threshold matter, Defendant contends Plaintiff's causes of action for discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination are barred as a matter of law because Plaintiff did not file an administrative complaint within one year of her September 2007 demotion from Senior Correctional Officer to Correctional Officer, the adverse employment action underpinning the foregoing causes of action. In its May 25, 2012 order directing the parties to brief a second round of summary judgment proceedings, the Court explained as follows:

"FEHA provides that subject to certain statutory exceptions, 'No [administrative] complaint may be filed after the expiration of one year from the date upon which the alleged unlawful practice or refusal to cooperate occurred[.]' Cal. Gov. Code, ยง 12960, subd. (d). '[A]ny conduct occurring [outside this time frame] cannot serve as the basis for liability [under FEHA] unless some exception to the one-year limitations period applies.' Cucuzza v. City of Santa Clara, 104 Cal.App.4th 1031, 1040, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 660 (2002). In this case, Plaintiff filed her administrative complaint on January 26, 2009. The only adverse employment actions occurring within one year of the complaint were the allegedly false accusations made against Plaintiff and Plaintiff's termination; Plaintiff's demotion predated the complaint by ...


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