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Castillo v. Garrett

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 24, 2014

CRISTOBAL CASTILLO, Plaintiff,
v.
GAIL GARRETT, JBT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY, INC., and DOES 1-30, Defendants.

ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docs. 34)

LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Cristobal Castillo ("Castillo") brings this action against his former employer JBT Property Management Company, Inc. ("JBT") and Gail Garrett ("Garrett") for race, color, national origin, and age discrimination, retaliation, unfair competition, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision. Before the Court is Defendant JBT's motion for summary judgment of Castillo's complaint. For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS JBT's motion for summary judgment of Castillo's complaint in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

A. Facts Alleged in First Amended Complaint

Castillo is a Latino male from El Salvador and is 56 years old. Castillo was employed by JBT as a maintenance technician from 2010 until his termination on September 7, 2012.

Castillo alleges that Garrett, another JBT employee, made comments to Castillo regarding age and stated that JBT needed to hire new employees who were young because they could work in the sun.

Castillo alleges that JBT on two occasions terminated older Hispanic employees and replaced them with employees who were younger and/or Caucasian.

Castillo alleges that he complained to Garrett and to JBT maintenance supervisor James Heistand ("Heistand"). Specifically, Castillo alleges he complained to Heistand about Garrett's remarks and that he complained to Garrett about the terminations of older JBT employees.

Castillo alleges that Garrett was upset and angry about Castillo's complaints and that Garrett treated him differently from similarly situated Caucasian employees on the basis of Castillo's race and in retaliation for Castillo's complaints. Castillo alleges that Garrett failed to make Castillo a supervisor even though he was employed as a supervisor by his previous employer and his previous employer recommended him for a supervisory position. Instead, Garrett made Heistand, who is Caucasian, a supervisor.

Castillo alleges that he began receiving false negative performance evaluations from Garrett in or around 2011 and that his previous evaluations have been positive. Castillo alleges that Garrett gave him false negative evaluations in retaliation for his complaints and because of his race, color, national origin, and age. Specifically, Castillo alleges that, in or about 2011, Garrett falsely accused Castillo of excessive absences and issued false negative performance evaluations to Castillo. In the same evaluation, Garrett also allegedly falsely accused Castillo of having to be reminded of time constraints and his other job responsibilities, of self-prioritizing tasks based on what he enjoys doing rather than the needs of the property at which he worked, of difficulties in getting along with some of his co-workers, and of challenging Garrett's authority. Castillo alleges the false negative evaluations were a pretext for terminating him on the basis of his age, race, color, and national origin.

On September 7, 2012, shortly after Castillo called in sick on Labor Day, JBT terminated Castillo from employment.

B. Procedural History

Castillo filed his original complaint in this case on March 19, 2013. (Doc. 1). This Court granted Castillo's motion to proceed in forma pauperis on March 26, 2013. (Doc. 5). Castillo filed the operative first amended complaint on September 16, 2013. Defendants filed an answer to the operative complaint on October 2, 2013. (Doc. 15). On January 14, 2014, this Court on the basis of Castillo's notice of voluntary dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41 dismissed without prejudice all claims against Defendant Garrett. (Doc. 30).

On July 17, 2014, JBT filed the instant motion for summary judgment as to Castillo's complaint. (Doc. 34). Castillo filed an opposition to the motion for summary judgment on July 31, 2014. JBT filed a reply on August 7, 2014.

DISCUSSION

Motion for Summary Judgment

A. Legal Standard

Fed.R. Civ. P. 56(b) permits a "party against whom relief is sought" to seek "summary judgment on all or part of the claim." "A district court may dispose of a particular claim or defense by summary judgment when one of the parties is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on that claim or defense." Beal Bank, SSB v. Pittorino, 177 F.3d 65, 68 (1st Cir. 1999).

Summary judgment is appropriate when there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); Matsushita Elec. Indus. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Assn., 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). The purpose of summary judgment is to "pierce the pleadings and assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial." Matsushita Elec., 475 U.S. at 586, n. 11; International Union of Bricklayers v. Martin Jaska, Inc., 752 F.2d 1401, 1405 (9th Cir. 1985).

The evidence of the party opposing summary judgment is to be believed, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587. The inquiry 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." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-252.

To carry its burden of production on summary judgment, a moving party "must either produce evidence negating an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim or defense or show that the nonmoving party does not have enough evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial." Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Companies, Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000); see, High Tech Gays v. Defense Indus. Sec. Clearance Office, 895 F.2d 563, 574 (9th Cir. 1990). "[T]o carry its ultimate burden of persuasion on the motion, the moving party must persuade the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact." Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1102; see High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d at 574. "As to materiality, the substantive law will identify which facts are material." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id.

"If a moving party fails to carry its initial burden of production, the nonmoving party has no obligation to produce anything, even if the nonmoving party would have the ultimate burden of persuasion at trial." Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1102-1103; see, Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 160 (1970). "If, however, a moving party carries its burden of production, the nonmoving party must produce evidence to support its claim or defense." Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103; see, High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d at 574. "If the nonmoving party fails to produce enough evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact, the moving party wins the motion for summary judgment." Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103; see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) ("Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make the showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.")

"But if the nonmoving party produces enough evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party defeats the motion." Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103; see, Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "The amount of evidence necessary to raise a genuine issue of material fact is enough to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.'" Aydin Corp. v. Loral Corp., 718 F.2d 897, 902 (9th Cir. 1983) (quoting First Nat'l Bank v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-289, 88 S.Ct. 1575, 1592, 20 L.Ed.2d 569 (1968)). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

"In cases that involve... multiple causes of action, summary judgment may be proper as to some causes of action but not as to others, or as to some issues but not as to others, or as to some parties, but not as to others." Barker v. Norman, 651 F.2d 1107, 1123 (5th Cir. 1981); see also, Robi v. Five Platters, Inc., 918 F.2d 1439 (9th Cir. 1990); Cheng v. Commissioner Internal Revenue Service, 878 F.2d 306, 309 (9th Cir. 1989). A court "may grant summary adjudication as to specific issues if it will narrow the issues for trial." First Nat'l Ins. Co. v. F.D.I.C., 977 F.Supp. 1051, 1055 (S.D. Cal. 1977).

B. Analysis

Castillo brings eleven causes of action under state and federal law against JBT.

Castillo alleges that JBT unlawfully discriminated against him on the basis of his race, color, national origin, and age in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq. ("Title VII"), California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov. Code § 12900 et seq. ("FEHA"), and Article I, § 8 of the California Constitution. Castillo alleges that JBT unlawfully discriminated against him on the basis of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. ("ADEA") and that JBT aided and abetted discrimination in violation of FEHA.

Castillo further alleges that JBT unlawfully retaliated against him for expressing opposition to JBT's discriminatory conduct.

Castillo also alleges that JBT violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981 by subjecting Castillo to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, and age and by retaliating against him.

In addition, Castillo alleges that JBT engaged in negligent supervision and failure to train employees.

Finally, Castillo alleges that JBT engaged in unfair competition in violation of California's Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. ("UCL"), and brings claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") and negligent infliction of emotional distress ("NIED") against JBT.

1. Discrimination Claims

i. Title ...


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