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Steshenko v. Albee

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

February 25, 2015

GREGORY NICHOLAS STESHENKO, Plaintiff,
v.
GERALDINE M. ALBEE, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE Re: Dkt. No. 46

LUCY H. KOH, District Judge.

Plaintiff Gregory Nicholas Steshenko ("Plaintiff") brings this action for age discrimination based on not being admitted to a graduate program at San Francisco State University. Defendant Geraldine Albee ("Defendant" or "Albee") moves to dismiss Plaintiff's due process claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No. 33. Having considered the parties' briefs, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 52-year-old unemployed electrical engineer seeking to re-enter the job market through professional re-training. Second Am. Compl. ("SAC"), ECF No. 45, ¶ 17. In addition to a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, Plaintiff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2010. Id.

On October 22, 2012, Plaintiff applied to the Clinical Laboratory Scientist ("CLS") Training Program at San Francisco State University. Id. ¶ 22. The CLS Training Program is a one-year academic program combining theoretical training with an internship at a participating clinical laboratory. Id. ¶ 18. On March 19, 2013, Plaintiff was notified that his application was denied due to his late submission of his transcript and that he would not be invited for an interview. Id. ¶ 23. On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff subsequently reapplied for the spring semester, to begin coursework in 2014. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. According to Plaintiff, sometime during July 2013 or August 2013, Defendant Albee and other university employees "assembled, communicated and finally decided that Plaintiff [was] not suitable for the CLS program because of his age, and therefore should not be invited to an admissions interview." Id. ¶ 25 On August 28, 2013, Plaintiff was notified that his application was denied because "he did not meet the criteria for selection into the CLS program." Id. ¶ 26. According to Plaintiff, much younger applicants, in their 20s, with much more inferior academic credentials and work experience, were invited for interviews and subsequently admitted to the program. Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff concluded that he was discriminated on the grounds of age. In making this conclusion, Plaintiff also alleges that "[n]o persons of the protected age have ever been admitted to... this program" and that "[t]he age discrimination is rampant." Id. ¶ 21.

Plaintiff alleges that he filed a timely administrative claim with the California State University Chancellor's Office. Id. ¶ 8. However, Plaintiff's claims were denied. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that he gave timely notices of the instant action to Defendants, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Attorney General of the United States. Id. ¶ 9.

On October 24, 2013, Plaintiff filed an original Complaint against Defendants. ECF No. 1. On March 26, 2014, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). ECF No. 14. That same day, Defendants amended the motion to dismiss. ECF No. 15. After the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to extend time to file a response to the motion to dismiss, on April 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed an opposition. ECF No. 20. On April 23, 2014, Defendants filed a reply. ECF No. 21. The Court held a hearing on May 15, 2014. Plaintiff filed a supplemental letter brief on May 16, 2014. ECF No. 23.

On May 20, 2014, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss. ECF No. 29. In the order, the Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims against the Board of Trustees and Plaintiff's § 1985(3) claim against Albee with leave to amend. ("May 20, 2014 Order"), ECF No. 29 at 17. The Court also granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection claims against Albee; Plaintiff's Age Discrimination Act claim against Albee; and Plaintiff's Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim against Albee with prejudice. May 20, 2014 Order at 17. Finally, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's remaining state law claims and thus granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's state law claims-FEHA claim, Bane Act claims, and IIED claim. May 20, 2014 Order at 17.

On May 31, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint against Defendants. ECF No. 31. Plaintiff filed a corrected First Amended Complaint on June 29, 2014. ("FAC"), ECF. No. 34. On June 16, 2014, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). ("MTD"), ECF No. 33, which Plaintiff opposed on June 29, 2014, ("Opp'n"), ECF No. 35. On July 10, 2014, Defendants filed a reply. ("Reply"), ECF No. 36.

On September 29, 2014, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion to dismiss. ECF No. 41. The Court dismissed with prejudice all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Board of Trustees with the exception of Plaintiff's Age Discrimination Act claim. The Court granted leave to amend only with respect to Plaintiff's due process claim against Defendant Albee. The Court dismissed with prejudice the remainder of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Albee.

On October 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed his SAC. ECF No. 45. Defendant Board of Trustees filed its answer on October 27, 2014. ECF No. 47. That same day, Defendant Albee filed the instant motion to dismiss. ECF No. 46. Plaintiff filed an opposition on November 11, 2014, ECF No. 48, and Albee filed a reply on November 18, 2014, ECF No. 49.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)

Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint to include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A complaint that fails to meet this standard may be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Supreme Court has held that Rule 8(a) requires a plaintiff to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). For purposes of ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court "accept[s] factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to the ...


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