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Ramirez v. Reeve-Woods Eye Center

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 20, 2014

LUZ R. RAMIREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
REEVE-WOODS EYE CENTER, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JOHN A. MENDEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Luz R. Ramirez ("Plaintiff") sued her former employer Defendant Reeve-Woods Eye Center's ("Defendant") for disability discrimination. On May 7, 2014, Defendant moved for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims (Doc. #18). Plaintiff opposes Defendant's motion (Doc. #20) and Defendant replied (Doc. #23). A hearing was held on June 4, 2014. At the hearing, the Court ordered the parties to submit further briefing on the issue of equitable tolling. On June 10, 2014, Plaintiff filed her supplemental brief (Doc. #25) and Defendant responded on June 13, 2014 (Doc. #27). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff originally filed this action on March 1, 2013, against Defendant (Doc. #1). Id . In Plaintiff's complaint, Plaintiff alleges six causes of action: (1) termination in violation of public policy, (2) disability discrimination in violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"); (3) failure to engage in the interactive process; (4) failure to provide reasonable accommodation; (5) unlawful retaliation under FEHA; and (6) disability discrimination under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA").

Plaintiff worked for Defendant Reeve-Woods, a full service eye clinic, as a refracting ophthalmic technician from November 16, 2000, to November 25, 2011. Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts ("DSUF"), Doc. #21, ¶ 1. Plaintiff saw an average of 35-40 patients per day. Id . ¶ 3. At the time of Plaintiff's disability in November of 2011, there were three technicians between the two offices and each had full patient schedules. Id . ¶¶ 30-31.

Plaintiff has hypoglycemia. Id . ¶ 5. On November 15, 2011, Plaintiff presented a written confirmation of disability from Dr. Illa to Defendant. Parties dispute when Defendant first learned about Plaintiff's hypoglycemia, whether Dr. Illa's note precluded Plaintiff from all work, and whether Plaintiff requested a reasonable accommodation.

November 15, 2011, was Plaintiff's last day of work. Id . ¶ 13. Defendant terminated Plaintiff by a letter dated November 25, 2011. Id . ¶ 14. Plaintiff has applied for and has received disability benefits, beginning in December 2011 or January 2012. The benefits were exhausted in December 2012. Plaintiff has applied for Social Security Disability Benefits. Id . ¶ 25. Plaintiff applied for, but was denied, unemployment benefits. Id . ¶ 26.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that "a court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party asserting that a fact cannot be disputed must support the assertion by citing to particular parts in the record, or by showing that the materials cited do not establish the presence of a genuine dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B). The purpose of summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

The moving party bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, " which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 323 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). That burden may be met by "showing'-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the non moving party's case." Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson , 212 F.3d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 325). If the moving party meets its burden with a properly supported motion, the burden shifts to the opposing party. Id . The opposition "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading, " but must provide affidavits or other sources of evidence that "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Devereaux v. Abbey , 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The adverse party must show that the fact in contention is material and the issue is genuine. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "material" fact is a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Id . A fact issue is "genuine" when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Villiarmo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc. , 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002). However, uncorroborated and self-serving testimony alone does not create a genuine issue of fact. Id . The Court must view the facts and draw inferences in the manner most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient: "There must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for [the non-moving party]." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 252. This Court thus applies to either a defendant's or plaintiff's motion for summary judgment the same standard as for a motion for directed verdict, which is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Id.

B. Evidentiary Objections

Defendant objects to the Declaration of Ms. Rosie Ramirez because it contradicts her deposition and the declaration is conclusory. Doc. #23-2. However, for the reasons mentioned below, the declaration is unnecessary for the determination of this ...


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