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Jean Newfarmer-Fletcher v. County of Sierra

July 9, 2012

JEAN NEWFARMER-FLETCHER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF SIERRA, A CALIFORNIA MUNICIPALITY, SIERRA COUNTY DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES/SOCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT, A GOVERNMENT AGENCY ORGANIZED AND EXISTING PURSUANT TO THE LAW AND POLICY OF THE COUNTY OF SIERRA, CAROL ROBERTS, DIRECTOR OF THE DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES, JAMES MARKS, LARRY ALLEN, VAN MADDOX, JODI BENSON, CAROL IMAN, AND DOES 1-50, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTON TO DISMISS

Before the Court is Defendants' County of Sierra, Sierra County Department of Human Services/Social Services Department, Carol Roberts ("Roberts"), James Marks ("Marks"), Larry Allen ("Allen"), Van Maddox ("Maddox"), and Jodi Benson ("Benson"), (collectively "Defendants"), Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #24) the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. #23) filed by Plaintiff Jean Newfarmer-Fletcher ("Plaintiff"). Plaintiff opposes the motion (Doc. #25).*fn1 2 3

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND & FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff filed her Complaint (Doc. #1) on August 1, 2011.

After Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #6), Plaintiff 6 filed her First Amended Complaint ("FAC") (Doc. #12). Defendants 7 again filed their Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #17). The Court granted 8 the Motion to Dismiss, but allowed Plaintiff leave to amend four of 9 her claims (Doc. #22). Plaintiff now alleges three causes of action in her Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") (Doc. #23): (1) Due Process Violations (as against Roberts and Does 1-50); (2) Slander (against all Defendants); and (3) Invasion of Privacy (against Roberts, Marks, and Does 1-50).

Plaintiff is a social worker employed by Sierra County. In approximately May 2010, Plaintiff alleges that she participated in the initiation of a child dependency proceeding previously handled by Benson, another social worker at Sierra County Health and Human Services. Plaintiff believed that Benson's prior handling of the case was inaccurate and contained unspecified false information. Plaintiff alleges she reported her findings to her direct supervisor, Marks. Plaintiff alleges that Marks was in an inappropriate personal relationship with Benson and as a result of this relationship, Plaintiff alleges that she was targeted by Benson and Marks. Plaintiff alleges she was also harassed by Roberts, the Director of Health and Human Services in Sierra County and Curtis, an unknown party not named in this lawsuit.

Plaintiff's allegations stem from two key events: 2

(1) In approximately June 2010, Plaintiff alleges that she received 3 telephone calls from her clients who asked why Defendant Carol 4

Iman, a union representative for California United Homecare Workers 5

Union, was visiting them to obtain negative information about her. 6

Plaintiff further alleges that Marks and Benson also approached her 7 clients to illicit information to utilize against her. Plaintiff 8 avers that Defendants told County Counsel and the Board of 9

Supervisors that Plaintiff had multiple complaints from her clients and was incompetent in her job; and (2) On or about April 8, 2011, Plaintiff alleges that she was forced to submit to an alcohol test at the direction of Roberts without a reasonable suspicion providing a basis for the test. Plaintiff alleges that the test occurred at the Sheriff's Department in a room with clear glass windows, visible to the public, and not in private. Plaintiff alleges that Roberts discussed the fact that Plaintiff underwent the alcohol test in the presence of other co-workers and that this information was released to the editor of the local newspaper, the Mountain Messenger. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants refused to provide her with copies of the test results so that she could contest the legitimacy of the alcohol test through grievance procedures.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

1. Motion to ...


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