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Andrew F. Mcfadden, An Individual v. City of El Centro

September 26, 2012

ANDREW F. MCFADDEN, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF EL CENTRO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge:

ORDER

The matter before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment filed by Defendant City of El Centro. (ECF No. 34).

BACKGROUND

On September 30, 2010, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint against the City of El Centro. (ECF No. 1). On December 6, 2010, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint alleging causes of action for (1) race discrimination in violation of Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), (2) disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), (3) retaliation in violation of Title VII and FEHA, and (4) deprivation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 relating to Plaintiff's employment as a police officer with the City of El Centro. (ECF No. 8).

On February 7, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 34). Defendant contends that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the grounds that (1) Plaintiff cannot establish a causal connection between his race and any adverse employment action, (2) Plaintiff cannot establish that he suffers from a qualifying disability, (3) Plaintiff cannot establish a causal connection between a protected activity and any adverse employment action, and (4) Plaintiff cannot establish that he was deprived of a constitutional right without due process. On September 7, 2012, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion for summary judgment which he amended on September 18, 2012. (ECF Nos. 43, 46). On September 14, 2012, Defendant filed a reply. (ECF No. 45).

UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS

A. Plaintiff's Work History and Performance

Plaintiff, an African-American male, was hired by the City of El Centro as a police officer in September 1989. Plaintiff worked as a police officer on patrol duties until 1998 when he became a School Resource Officer for the Central Union High School District. In July 2004, Plaintiff returned to patrol duties as a police officer for the City under the supervision of Sergeant John Seaman.

Around March 1999, Plaintiff filed a grievance alleging that Sergeant Theresa Quinn spoke publicly about Plaintiff's poor report writing skills. The grievance did not allege discrimination on the basis of Plaintiff's race or any disability.

Around October 2004, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Sgt. Seaman in response to a Supervisor's Report that Sgt. Seaman wrote requesting disciplinary action be imposed against Plaintiff for insubordination. In the grievance, Plaintiff states that Sgt. Seaman abused and exceeded his authority, failed to deal fairly and impartially in his official capacity, intended to make misrepresentations, and created a hostile work environment. The grievance did not allege discrimination on the basis of Plaintiff's race or any disability.

In August 2005, Plaintiff received an annual performance evaluation prepared by Sgt. Seaman in which Plaintiff was given unsatisfactory reviews in several areas, including interview and interrogation, beat/area practices and responsibility, following work instructions and submitting work promptly and accurately, exercising reasonable judgment and discretion, performing under pressure, willingness to encourage co-workers and exhibit team work, and the ability to maintain proper contact and appropriate coverage when involved with an incident. Plaintiff filed an employee grievance form and wrote a written response to Sgt. Seaman's evaluation. In his grievance, Plaintiff states that Sgt. Seaman abused authority, created a hostile work environment, was retaliatory in nature, and failed to deal fairly and impartially in his official capacity. Neither the employee grievance nor the written response alleged discrimination on the basis of Plaintiff's race or any disability.

In response to Plaintiff's grievance, Commander Paul Longoria assigned Plaintiff to Sergeant Mike Crankshaw's patrol team for evaluation of Plaintiff's ability as an Officer in Charge, his on-site productivity, and his report writing ability. According to Sgt. Crankshaw, Plaintiff performed satisfactorily on his team. Plaintiff was reassigned to Sgt. Seaman's patrol team.

On July 13, 2006, Sgt. Quinn recommended suspending Plaintiff's duties as Officer in Charge as a result of Plaintiff's poor performance. Plaintiff wrote a response to Sgt. Quinn's recommendation. On September 22, 2006, Cdr. Longoria reassigned Plaintiff to another patrol team and reinstated Plaintiff's eligibility to perform as Officer in Charge.

In September 2009, Plaintiff received another performance evaluation from Sgt. Quinn which described Plaintiff's job performance as needing improvement. Plaintiff wrote a response to the September 2009 performance evaluation.

In his declaration, Plaintiff states: "I feel that one of the reasons I have been treated harshly is that I spoke up against the actions being taken against the African-American Chief, Leonard Knight. Criticism of my work skills became notably worse after I defended him .... No other Chiefs or Sergeants were treated the way the supervisors and staff treated Chief Knight." (ECF No. 46-4 at 2-3). Plaintiff states: "No other employee that I know of in the El Centro Police D[e]p[artmen]t has been treated like I have. Other officers have been promoted ahead of me and I have been treated with disrespect on a constant basis." Id.

Plaintiff has never been demoted while employed by the City.

B. Promotion Policies and Practices

At his November 3, 2011 deposition, Plaintiff gave the following testimony: Q ... What does a sergeants exam consist of?

A It is a written exam; and then, there is an essay exam ...

Q And is there a minimum standard for ...


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