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Soriano v. Fresno Unified School District

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 9, 2015

RICHARD P. SORIANO, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FRESNO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.

ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFFS TO EITHER FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY THE COURT THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO PROCEED ON CLAIM FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

On December 19, 2014, Plaintiffs Richard P. Soriano and Frank R. Ortiz filed this action alleging that Defendants Fresno Unified School District and Lyle Rhoan violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. On February 20, 2015, Plaintiffs' complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim. On March 25, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint.

I.

SCREENING REQUIREMENT

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must dismiss a case if at any time the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability... stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

II.

COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiffs allege their supervisor, Defendant Rhoan, was using racial and gender derogatory language in the workplace, made derogatory remarks about Hispanics, and would send inappropriate texts that were derogatory as to race, national origin and/or gender. Plaintiff's found the conduct to be offensive. After Defendant Rhoan's conduct had been pervasive and consistent for months, in July 2013, Plaintiffs Ortiz and Soriano complained to Defendant Rhoan's supervisor about his actions and requested remedial action. Plaintiffs had saved several of the text messages which were provided to the supervisor. Defendant Rhoan was reprimanded and advised to discontinue the conduct.

Plaintiffs allege that despite being reprimanded, Defendant Rhoan continued the conduct unabated. After they complained, Defendant Rhoan began to exclude Plaintiffs from team meetings and assigned them to the least desirable janitorial duties in the district that were usually assigned to new or junior staff members. Defendant Rhoan also removed Plaintiffs from their long term assignments at Scandinavian Middle School, which he knew was close to their residences, and made them drive to various locations throughout the district. Defendant Rhoan also became more critical of Plaintiffs' work and gave them write-ups that were a departure from their previous positive performance reviews. Defendant Rhoan ostracized Plaintiffs and did not include them in janitorial meetings or collective decision making or reporting. Defendant Rhoan became verbally abusive to Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs allege that from July through November 2013, they were subjected to racial discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and bullying in violation of Title VII and are seeking injunctive and monetary relief.

III.

DISCUSSION

A. ...


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