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Toth v. Barstow Unified School District

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

December 8, 2014

GORDON TOTH, Plaintiff,
v.
BARSTOW UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

TERRY J. HATTER, Jr., Senior District Judge.

On July 1, 2014, the Court granted Plaintiff Gordon Toth's ("Toth") motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability for all of his claims against the Barstow Unified School District ("BUSD"). The issue of damages was tried by the Court, sitting without a jury. The Court, having considered the evidence and arguments, hereby issues the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:

Findings of Fact

1. Toth was a school psychologist employed by BUSD in the Pupil Personnel Services department from September 1, 1989, until his retirement on June 30, 2011.

2. The Court previously determined that BUSD violated Toth's rights under the American with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, by failing to provide an appropriate accommodation; § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701, for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation; and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12940(m) and (n), for failure to engage in the interactive process to determine an effective reasonable accommodation. The Court further determined, sua sponte, that BUSD also violated Toth's rights under the FEHA, Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12940(h) and (k), for constructive discharge, discrimination, harassment, and failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment. The Court will not restate the facts which led to the finding of liability.

3. When Toth learned that he would no longer have clerical support, he felt anxious and frustrated because he did not know how he would complete his work. Toth eventually became too depressed and anxious to work and, consequently, began to use sick and other leave.

4. Toth had trouble sleeping, and lost interest in his hobbies because of the depression and anxiety. Toth stopped playing golf because of, inter alia, his mental and physical ailments, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Toth is not seeking damages in this action for the consequences of his physical ailments.

5. On June 30, 2011, Toth retired to obtain income through his retirement plan as he had exhausted all of his available employment benefits for paid leave.

6. Toth was no longer eligible for medical benefits from BUSD after he retired. This caused Toth additional emotional distress because his son was insured through Toth's BUSD employee medical benefits.

7. On March 5, 2012, Toth and BUSD settled his workers compensation claims for $70, 000.00 pursuant a written settlement agreement and subsequent order approving the settlement by an administrative law judge on California's Workers' Compensation Appeals Board ("Settlement Agreement").

8. The Settlement Agreement stated that "[e]xecution of this form has no effect on claims that are not within the scope of the workers' compensation law or claims that are not subject to the exclusivity provisions of the workers' compensation law, unless otherwise expressly stated."

9. The Settlement Agreement, also, stated that "[t]his Compromise & Release forever resolves all issues with regards [sic] to any injuries applicant sustained or claims to have sustained during his entire employment with Barstow [Unified School District].

10. The Settlement Agreement did not contain a provision, and it was not accompanied by a separate document signed by the parties, that expressed in non-technical language the parties' intent and agreement that the Settlement Agreement specifically released all of Toth's claims against BUSD that were not subject to the exclusivity provisions of the workers' compensation law.

11. The Settlement Agreement did not release BUSD from liability for Toth's claims that were not subject to the exclusivity ...


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