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Baker v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 17, 2014

MICHELE BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF SAN DIEGO; ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF SAN DIEGO dba CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL; CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND

JEFFREY T. MILLER, District Judge.

Defendant The Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego ("RCBSD"), erroneously sued as Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Diego, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Diego dba Cathedral Catholic High School and Cathedral Catholic High School, moves to dismiss all claims alleged in Plaintiff Michele Baker's disability, retaliation, and declaratory relief First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). Plaintiff opposes the motion. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), the court finds the matters presented appropriate for decision without oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the motion to dismiss the complaint and grants Plaintiff 21 days leave to amend from the date of entry of this order.

BACKGROUND

On April 4, 2014, RCBSD removed this action from the Superior Court for the State of California, County of San Diego, based upon federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1441, and 1446. The FAC alleges three claims for relief: (1) disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §12112 et seq.; (2) retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of California public policy; and (3) declaratory and injunctive relief. (Ct. Dkt. 13). All of Plaintiff's claims arise from the following generally described conduct.

Plaintiff, a 67-year-old teacher, was employed by RCBSD for over 13 years at the Cathedral Catholic High School ("CCHS"). (FAC ¶9). On August 23, 2012, Plaintiff "sustained and/or aggravated and/or developed perceived and/or physical disability(s) including, but not limited to, concussions, vision problems, including symptoms of dizziness, instability, loss of balance, and double vision and migraine headaches." (FAC ¶12). The alleged disability limited Plaintiff's "major life activities, including working, amongst others." (FAC ¶13). After sustaining the condition, Plaintiff requested, and received, a one-week leave of absence under the California Family Rights Act ("CFRA"). (FAC ¶17). At RCBSD's request, Plaintiff filed a workers compensation claim. After this incident, RCBSD allegedly began "harassing, discriminating against and retaliating Plaintiff in terms and conditions of her employment." (FAC ¶14).

In January 2013, RCBSD conducted a performance review of Plaintiff, the first review since 2009. In February 2013, the Principal at CCHS, Michael Deely, "informed Plaintiff that various categories of work performance and work behavior were areas for growth' and that her contract was not being renewed." (FAC ¶21). On August 8, 2013, Plaintiff alleges that she was "wrongfully terminated for the stated reason that Plaintiff had performance problems." (FAC ¶22).

From August 23, 2012 and continuing through August 8, 2013, Plaintiff alleges that she was "discriminated, harassed, and retaliated against [] on the basis of Plaintiff's perceived and/or physical disability(s), by the following continuous actions, and conduct;"

a. Failing to determine the extent of Plaintiff's disability and to accommodate it;
b. Failing to inform Plaintiff of other "job opportunities within the company;"
c. Failing move Plaintiff into other employment openings;
d. Failing to engage in the interactive process to accommodate Plaintiff's disability;
e. "Harassing, discriminating against and retaliating against Plaintiff based on Plaintiff's perceived and/or physical disability(s);"
f. "Harassing, discriminating against and retaliating against Plaintiff based on taking and/or requesting and/or being entitled to CFRA/FMLA and/or other medical and/or ...

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