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Hamilton v. St. Joseph's Medical Center

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 12, 2014

ST. JOSEPH'S MEDICAL CENTER, et al., Defendants.


KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, District Judge.

The motion for summary judgment filed by defendant St. Joseph's Medical Center, aka Dignity Health, is currently pending before the court. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se since the withdrawal of her counsel, has not opposed the motion. After considering the motion and the evidence in the record, the court GRANTS the motion.


On October 12, 2012, plaintiff filed a complaint in San Joaquin County Superior Court alleging generally that in October 2010, she informed her supervisor Rick Reed that she was qualified for a Nuclear Medicine Technician position with St. Joseph's Medical Center and wanted to apply for it. Compl., ECF No. 1 at 8 ¶ 11. Reed told her the position was closed. Id. He removed the position from the job board and gave it to Scott Donley, a Caucasian male, who was not qualified for the position because he had not passed the Nuclear Medicine Board exam, whereas plaintiff had passed and was the best qualified for the job at the time she sought to apply. Id. She alleges she was denied the position because of her race and sex. Id. Plaintiff brings two claims: (1) violation of California Civil Code § 12940 (FEHA); (2) violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Id. at 10-12 ¶¶ 21-29.


A court will grant summary judgment "if... there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). The "threshold inquiry" is whether "there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).[1]

The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the district court "that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party, which "must establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact...." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585 (1986). In carrying their burdens, both parties must "cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record...; or show [] that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1); see also Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 ("[the nonmoving party] must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts"). Moreover, "the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.... Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphasis in original).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court draws all inferences and views all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587-88; Whitman v. Mineta, 541 F.3d 929, 931 (9th Cir. 2008). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.'" Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting First Nat'l Bank of Arizona v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).

A court may consider evidence as long as it is "admissible at trial." Fraser v. Goodale, 342 F.3d 1032, 1036 (9th Cir. 2003). "Admissibility at trial" depends not on the evidence's form, but on its content. Block v. City of L.A., 253 F.3d 410, 418-19 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324). The party seeking admission of evidence "bears the burden of proof of admissibility." Pfingston v. Ronan Eng'g Co., 284 F.3d 999, 1004 (9th Cir. 2002). If the opposing party objects to the proposed evidence, the party seeking admission must direct the district court to "authenticating documents, deposition testimony bearing on attribution, hearsay exceptions and exemptions, or other evidentiary principles under which the evidence in question could be deemed admissible...." In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 385-86 (9th Cir. 2010).

If a party fails to respond to a motion for summary judgment, the court may consider the facts cited in the motion as undisputed, but it must still "determine the legal consequences of these facts and the permissible inferences from them.'" Heinemann v. Satterberg, 731 F.3d 914, 917 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 56, Advisory Committee Notes (2010)). It may not grant summary judgment, however, solely because of the party's failure to oppose. Id.


Hamilton, an African-American, began working at St. Joseph's Medical Center in 1996 as a Radiology Technologist and throughout her employment she has been a member of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). Dep. of Ginger Hamilton (Hamilton Dep.) at 11:23-24;[2] Decl. of Frank Crua, ECF No. 17-3 ¶ 12; Compl., ECF No. 1 ¶ 1. At all relevant times her direct supervisor was Rick Reed. Decl. of Rick Reed, ECF No. 17-4 ¶¶ 1, 3; Hamilton Dep. at 40:6-8. Reed's supervisor, and thus Hamilton's second-level supervisor at all relevant times, was Frank Crua, Director of Imaging Services. Hamilton Dep. at 20:21-21:2; Decl. of Frank Crua, ECF No. 17-3 ¶ 2. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Reed consistently rated Hamilton as exceeding standards in her performance reviews; Hamilton thought all the evaluations were fair. Decl. of Matthew Ruggles, ECF No. 17-5 ¶ 4 & Ex. C, ECF No. 17-8 at 2-32; Hamilton Dep. at 50:9-56:3.

On February 2, 2009, Scott Donley, a part time Radiology Technologist, was the only applicant for a position as a part-time Alternative Nuclear Medicine Technologist; although he had completed the training course, he was hired contingent on his successful completion of the state board exam. ECF No. 17-3 ¶ 7; ECF No. 17-4 ¶ 5. At the time, it was common practice to hire people who had completed the nuclear medicine training, but not allow them to work until they passed the state exam. ECF No. 17-3 ¶ 8; ECF No. 17-4 ¶ 6. Hamilton did not apply for the position in 2009 because she had not completed the training course. Hamilton Dep. at 75:23-76-3.

Donley never performed any work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist because he never notified the Hospital he had passed the state exam. ECF No. 17-3 ¶ 3; ECF No. 17-4 ¶ 7. To work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, a candidate had to complete a certified training course and ...

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