UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA - SACRAMENTO DIVISION
November 27, 2012
JERALD CLINTON (J.C.) EAGLESMITH, RAMONA EAGLESMITH, EILEEN COX AND BRUCE BARNES,
JEFF RAY, AS AN INDIVIDUAL, SUE SEGURA, AS AN INDIVIDUAL, AND BOARD OF TRUSTESS OF PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION/PLUMAS COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable John A. Mendez United States District Court Judge
ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANT BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION/PLUMAS COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT AGAINST PLAINTIFF BRUCE BARNES Date: October 17, 2012 Time: 9:30 a.m. Place: Courtroom 6 TRIAL: May 20, 2013
On October 17, 2012, at 9:30 AM, Defendants BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION/PLUMAS COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT's Motion for Summary Judgment came on for hearing in Courtroom 6, 14th Floor, Hon. John
Mendez, presiding. The Court, having considered the moving papers, the papers in opposition, and the reply, the arguments of counsel, and the records and pleadings on file herein, entered its order on October 31, 2012 and ruled as follows:
The Court GRANTS summary judgment in defendants BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION/PLUMAS COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT's favor and against plaintiff BRUCE BARNES on first claim for discriminatory employment practices both under federal and state statutes, the second claim for retaliatory employment practices, again under federal and state statutes, and then the fifth claim for failure to prevent unlawful discrimination or retaliation under Government Code Section 12940 - the Court grants summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all three of those claims.
The Court finds that plaintiff BRUCE BARNES has not met his burden of proof as to discrimination. In order to survive summary judgment, he must show that he suffered adverse employment action that was motivated by discriminatory animus. The adverse action must materially affect the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. Minor or trivial adverse actions are not actionable. Plaintiff BRUCE BARNES recites a number of incidents that occurred to him beginning in June of 2009, but there is a lack of evidence, even evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact that plaintiff BRUCE BARNES' association with Mr. Eaglesmith played any role in the alleged adverse actions. There is no evidence that the actions taken by defendants BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION/PLUMAS COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, primarily through Ms. Segura, were motivated by plaintiff BRUCE BARNES' association with Mr. Eaglesmith.
As to the retaliation claim, again plaintiff BRUCE BARNES has also failed to meet his burden of proof as to retaliation. To survive summary judgment, he must show that he engaged in a protected activity, he suffered an adverse employment action, and that there is a causal link between the protected activity and the school district's action. Plaintiff BRUCE BARNES has failed to show that he engaged in any activity opposing Ms. Segura's allegedly discriminatory treatment of Mr. Eaglesmith. There is no direct evidence that he made her aware that he felt that she was discriminating against Mr. Eaglesmith, and that she was discriminating and retaliating against him because of his support and association. His unarticulated belief that Eaglesmith was being discriminated against is not enough to maintain his claims. In the Yanowitz v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., 36 Cal. 4th 1028 (2005) the court held that: Protected activity must oppose activity the employee reasonably believes constitutes unlawful discrimination, and complaints about personal grievances or vague or conclusory remarks that fail to put an employer on notice as to what conduct it should investigate will not suffice to establish protected conduct.
FURTHER, the Court sustains each of defendants BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION/PLUMAS COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT's objections to plaintiff's evidence.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
John A. Mendez
Approved as to form: DAN SIEGEL, ESQ. SIEGEL & YEE Attorneys for Plaintiffs
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