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Felix M. Barajas v. Theresa Walker

July 20, 2012

FELIX M. BARAJAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THERESA WALKER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge

JS-6

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS [67]; ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT [73]

I.INTRODUCTION

Two motions are before the Court: Defendant City of Los Angeles's*fn1 Motion to Dismiss; and Plaintiff Felix Barajas's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint. (ECF Nos. 67, 73.) Having carefully considered the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the motions, the Court deems the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15.

II.FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Barajas brings his Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") against the City in its capacity as his employer, alleging he was forced to retire. Barajas, a former senior gardener for the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department, worked over 30 years before he took disability leave in November 2006. (SAC ¶ 6.) Barajas alleges that afterwards, the City refused to allow him to come back to work in his old position or another one, thereby constituting constructive discharge and forced retirement. (Id.)

The City responds that the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction, that Barajas states no intelligible cause of action, and that the SAC is void for vagueness. (Mot. 2.) On these grounds, the City moves to dismiss all claims. (Id.)

III.LEGAL STANDARD

Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) can be based on "the lack of a cognizable legal theory" or "the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A complaint need only satisfy the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)-a short and plain statement-to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). For a complaint to sufficiently state a claim, its "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While specific facts are not necessary so long as the complaint gives the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which the claim rests, a complaint must nevertheless "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

Iqbal's plausibility standard "asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. Rule 8 demands more than a complaint that is merely consistent with a defendant's liability-labels and conclusions, or formulaic recitals of the elements of a cause of action do not suffice. Id. The determination whether a complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679.

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court is generally limited to the pleadings and must construe "[a]ll factual allegations set forth in the complaint . . . as true and . . . in the light most favorable to [the plaintiff]." Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). Conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences need not be blindly accepted as true by the court. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). Yet, a complaint should be dismissed only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts" supporting plaintiff's claim for relief. Morley v. Walker, 175 F.3d 756, 759 (9th Cir. 1999).

As a general rule, leave to amend a complaint that has been dismissed should be freely granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). However, leave to amend may be denied when "the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency." Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir.1986); see Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000).

IV.DISCUSSION

Barajas' SAC alleges: (1) constructive discharge in violation of U.S.C. Title VII; (2) age discrimination in violation of 29 U.S.C. Section 623(a)(1)4(a)(1); (3) disability discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 12112(5)(A)(B); and (4) negligent infliction of emotional distress in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 17953. The City ...


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