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Ruby J. Earl v. Clovis Unified School District; and Does 1 To 18

October 24, 2012

RUBY J. EARL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CLOVIS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; AND DOES 1 TO 18,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence J. O'Neill United States District Judge

ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS (Docs. 19, 20, 22, 23)

INTRODUCTION

Pro se plaintiff Ruby J. Earl ("Ms. Earl") alleges that Clovis Unified School District ("CUSD") and Does 1 through 18 discriminated against her on account of her race and disability by preventing her from obtaining a sports officiating contract. Ms. Earl alleges claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000d and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). CUSD seeks to dismiss Ms. Earl's complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Ms. Earl opposes the motion and requests leave to amend the complaint. For the reasons discussed below, this Court GRANTS CUSD's motion to dismiss, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), and DENIES Ms. Earl's request for leave to amend.

BACKGROUND

A. Facts*fn1

Ms. Earl is African American and disabled. (Doc. 1, ¶ 15). She owns and operates an accredited sports officiating business known as Central California Soccer Officials Association ("CCSOA"). (Doc. 1, ¶ 9a). In March 2008, she was approached by CUSD's District Athletic Director, Dennis Lindsay ("Mr. Lindsay"), who requested that she support CUSD's effort to award the all sports officiating contract to California Sports Officials Association ("California Sports"). (Doc. 1, ¶ 9a). California Sports is led by a non-African American, and, at the time of Mr. Lindsay's request, the company did not legally exist. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9a). Ms. Earl was "somewhat bewildered" that CUSD would ask her to support an officiating business that did not yet exist and that CUSD did not request a bid from her company. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9a). Ms. Earl previously worked soccer contracts for CUSD from 2003-2008. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9a). Ms. Earl reluctantly accepted CUSD's request to support California Sports. Mr. Lindsay assured Ms. Earl that all would be fine. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9a). In May 2008, CUSD awarded its all sports officiating contract to California Sports. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9b). Ms. Earl worked for California Sports until January of 2009, when she was suddenly discharged without reason or explanation. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9c). Ms. Earl contacted Mr. Lindsay regarding her discharge and he did not respond. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9c). In December 2009, Ms. Earl performed limited contracted work for CUSD. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9d).

In February 2010, Ms. Earl started a new accredited sports officiating business known as Fresno Valley Sports ("FVS"). (Doc. 1, ¶ 9e). Ms. Earl notified CUSD, through Mr. Lindsay, about her new business venture. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9e). In March 2010, Ms. Earl notified CUSD of her availability for the all sports officiating contract and her intention to submit a bid for the 2010/2011 school year. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9f). In May 2010, CUSD, aware of other pending discrimination lawsuits, chose not to offer a Request for Proposal ("RFP") to Ms. Earl for the 2010/2011 school year all sports officiating contract. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9g). She later learned that CUSD did not interview or accept the bids of other minority contractors. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9g). Instead, CUSD split the contract between California Sports and San Joaquin Valley Officials Association ("SJVOA"), the company that controlled the contract for sixty years prior to it being awarded to California Sports (Doc. 1, ¶ 9g). In early 2011, CUSD changed the structure of its contracts with California Sports and SJVOA and did not make the information regarding the contract changes available to minority contractors or to the public. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9h).

In August 2011, Ms. Earl filed a government tort claim against CUSD for continuing to violate its own anti-discrimination policy by not allowing an open, fair, and equal bidding process. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9i). The claim was denied as time barred. (Doc. 1, ¶ 9j).

B. Procedural History*fn2

Following the Court's screening, the operative claims are Ms. Earl's first and third causes of action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 2000d and the ADA respectively. (Doc. 6).

On September 13, 2012, CUSD filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). (Doc. 19, 20). Ms. Earl opposed the motion and requested leave to amend the complaint. (Doc. 22).*fn3 CUSD filed a reply. (Doc. 23). This Court found the motion the motion suitable for decision without oral argument, pursuant to Local Rule 230(g), and vacated the October 16, 2012 hearing date. (Doc. 25). Having considered the parties' arguments and the relevant law, this Court issues this order.

DISCUSSION

Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)

A. Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is a challenge to the sufficiency of the allegations set forth in the complaint. A Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper where there is either a "lack of a cognizable legal theory" or "the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balisteri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court generally accepts as true the allegations in the complaint, construes the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolves all doubts in the pleader's favor. Lazy Y. Ranch LTD v. Behrens, 546 F.3d 580, 588 (9th Cir. 2008).

To survive a Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely ...


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