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Bradley Brazill, An Wbs Ggh Individual v. California Northstate College of Pharmacy

August 2, 2012

BRADLEY BRAZILL, AN WBS GGH INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA NORTHSTATE COLLEGE OF PHARMACY, LLC, CALIFORNIA NORTHSTATE UNIVERSITY, LLC, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS

----oo0oo----Plaintiff Bradley Brazill brings this action against defendants California Northstate College of Pharmacy, LLC and California Northstate University, LLC ("College" collectively), arising from defendants' allegedly wrongful conduct related to defendants' termination of plaintiff's employment. Defendants now move to dismiss the Complaint, with the exception of the fifth claim, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Docket No. 5.)

I. Factual and Procedural Background Plaintiff is a 55-year-old licensed pharmacist who owns and operates a pharmacy in Yolo County. (Compl. ¶ 14 (Docket No. 1).) Plaintiff has been a pharmacist for over 25 years and a professor of pharmacy for over twenty years. (Id.) In 2009, defendants hired plaintiff full-time as Chair of the Department for Clinical and Administrative Sciences at the College, a for-profit, unaccredited college located in Rancho Cordova, California. (Id. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff alleges that he was hired under a one-year contract that was later extended "up to and including his last day of employment." (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff began working for the College in August 2009 and his duties included overseeing the clinical curriculum and evaluating and supervising the clinical teaching staff. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that after his "outstanding 2010 performance review," he received a four percent raise. (Id.)

The College is currently a candidate for accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges ("WASC"). (Id. ¶ 17.) In October 2010, members of the WASC visited the College to assess its candidacy. (Id. ¶ 18.) When WASC members asked plaintiff to give an assessment as to whether the College had appropriate resources to complete its mission, he responded that it did not. (Id.) In several follow-up meetings, plaintiff reasserted that the College had insufficient resources and explained that the College's cost-cutting measures put profits before students' education. (Id.)

Plaintiff states that during that same academic year, he began vocally challenging the College administration's tuition practices as illegal and detrimental to the College's accreditation process. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff alleges that the College does not receive federal student aid assistance because it is unaccredited. (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff also alleges that he knew, or reasonably believed, that the some of the College's tuition practices violated federal law. (Id. ¶ 20.) Specifically, plaintiff alleges that the College participated in a scheme in which it encouraged students to apply for enrollment at an accredited school in Michigan, apply for excess student loans, and then use the excess loan money to pay for the College's tuition. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff believed that this practice violated federal provisions requiring that student loans be used by students only at "eligible institution[s]." (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges that the President of the College, Alvin Cheung, discovered what plaintiff had told WASC members during their accreditation investigation and that plaintiff had been complaining about the College's tuition practices. (Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges that from that point forward, President Cheung and the College administration treated him hostilely and told him that he was not considered a "team player." (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the administration implied it was displeased with plaintiff's critical comments to the WASC and his disapproval of its tuition practices. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that the administration decried his "old school ways of thinking," and "implied that it would seek to replace Plaintiff with someone with a younger, more modern perspective . . . ."

(Id.)

On July 14, 2011, the administration notified plaintiff that President Cheung, Dean David Hawkins, and the Director of Human Resources, Yasmin Vera, wished to meet with him to discuss a "conflict of interest" issue. (Id. ¶ 21.) Plaintiff alleges that he met with Ms. Vera and Vice President Norman Fong, who advised him that he could resign or be terminated. (Id.) Ms. Vera allegedly stated that plaintiff was being terminated because he had allowed faculty members to work in his retail pharmacy. (Id.) When plaintiff advised them that the Dean had expressly authorized this practice, Vice President Fong allegedly responded that it did not matter and that plaintiff was terminated. (Id.)

Plaintiff filed this action on May 7, 2012, alleging six causes of action under federal and state law: (1) age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634; (2) age discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12900-12996; (3) retaliation under the False Claims Act ("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h); (4) retaliation under California Labor Code § 1102.5; (5) wrongful termination (Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12900-12996; 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h); Cal. Lab. Code § 1102.5); and

(6) breach of employment contract. Defendants' motion to dismiss does not include claim five for wrongful termination.

II. Request for Judicial Notice A court may take judicial notice of facts "not subject to reasonable dispute" because they are either "(1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or

(2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed. R. Evid. 201. The court may take judicial notice of matters of public record or of documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity is not questioned. Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir. 2001).

Plaintiff has requested that the court take judicial notice of: (1) a copy of the California Department of Industrial Relation's webpage describing its Retaliation Complaint Unit; and

(2) a copy of the California Department of Industrial Relation's webpage describing the filing of a retaliation/discrimination complaint. (Docket No. 6-2).) Because the information appears on an official government website, its accuracy is not reasonably in dispute. See, e.g., Edejer v. DHI Mortg. Co., No. 09--1302, 2009 WL 1684714, at *4 (N.D. Cal. June 12, 2009); Piazza v. EMPI, Inc., No. 07--954, 2009 WL 590494, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 29, 2008); see also Denius v. Dunlap, 330 F.3d 919, 926--27 (7th Cir. 2003) (taking ...


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