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Mohideen v. Calnet, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

February 6, 2015

MOHAMMED MOHIDEEN, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
CALNET, INC., a Maryland corporation, Defendants. CALNET, INC., a Maryland corporation, Counterclaimant,
v.
MOHAMMED MOHIDEEN, an individual, Counter-Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; [Doc. No. 38] GRANTING MOTIONS TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL [Doc. No. 46, 50]

MICHAEL M. ANELLO, District Judge.

Plaintiff Mohammed Mohideen brings this employment discrimination action against Defendant Calnet, Inc. ("Calnet"), alleging, inter alia, wrongful termination. [Doc. No. 5.] Calnet counterclaims for computer fraud and abuse. [Doc. No. 10.] Calnet now moves for summary judgment on Mohideen's first and third causes of action. [Doc. No. 38.] For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Calnet's motion.

BACKGROUND[1]

Calnet is a privately-held Maryland corporation that provides intelligence, technology, and security services to the United States government. Kaleem Shah ("Shah") is the president and chief executive officer of Calnet. Mohideen is a former senior vice president of Calnet. Calnet fired Mohideen on May 10, 2011. As reflected by the claims brought in the FAC, it is disputed why Mohideen was fired from Calnet. Mohideen alleges it was because he uncovered fraud and other wrongdoing by Calnet. Calnet counterclaims that Mohideen unlawfully accessed Calnet's computer systems. In any event, Mohideen began work as vice president of operations at another contractor, American Systems Group, in August 2011. Mohideen brought this lawsuit against Shah and Calnet in April 2013.

On October 20, 2014, Shah and Calnet filed a motion for summary judgment as to Mohideen's first cause of action for retaliation in violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), third cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and sixth cause of action for violation of California labor code section 1050. [Doc. No. 38.] On November 11, 2014, the Court granted the parties' joint motion to dismiss Mohideen's sixth cause of action, and terminated Shah as a party to this lawsuit. [Doc. No. 45.] Only Calnet's motion for summary adjudication of Mohideen's first and third causes of action remains.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion for summary judgment should be granted if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The purpose of summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses." Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for the motion, and identifying portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a triable issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. P. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630-31 (9th Cir. 1987).

DISCUSSION

I. Motions to File Documents Under Seal

Mohideen moves the Court for leave to file under seal an unredacted copy of his opposition brief, separate statement of undisputed facts, and exhibits 20-37 in support of his opposition. [Doc. No. 46.] Mohideen has filed copies of his opposition and separate statement of undisputed facts on the public docket with information regarding his compensation and a confidential incident report redacted, pursuant to the Court's protective order. [ See Doc. Nos. 17, 49.] The proposed exhibits contain confidential deposition transcripts and other documents also marked as confidential pursuant to the protective order. [Doc. No. 46.] Calnet moves the Court for leave to file an unredacted copy of its reply to Mohideen's separate statement of undisputed facts under seal. [Doc. No. 50.]

Upon due consideration of parties' motions and the protective order in this case, the Court GRANTS the motion and ORDERS that the above documents [Doc. Nos. 47, 48, 51] be filed under seal.

II. Motion for Summary Judgment

Calnet moves for summary adjudication of Mohideen's first cause of action for retaliation under FEHA and third cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy on grounds that Mohideen has no damages. [Doc. No. 38.] Mohideen does not allege non-economic damages in the FAC, and Calnet argues that Mohideen cannot prove he suffered economic harm. [ Id. ] Mohideen opposes on grounds that proof of recoverable economic damages is not necessary to satisfy the "harm" element of his claims. [Doc. No. 49.]

Under California law, a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy requires: "(1) an employer-employee relationship, (2) the employer terminated the plaintiff's employment, (3) the termination was substantially motivated by a violation of public policy, and (4) the discharge caused the plaintiff harm." Yau v. Santa Margarita Ford, Inc., 229 Cal.App.4th 144, 154 (2014). To establish a prima facie claim for retaliation under California's FEHA, a plaintiff must show: "that he engaged in a protected activity, his employer subjected him to adverse employment ...


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