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Henderlong v. Southern California Regional Rail Authority

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 14, 2015

JOSEPH HENDERLONG, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL RAIL AUTHORITY, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS [Dkt. No. 8]

DEAN D. PREGERSON, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Southern California Regional Rail Authority's ("SCRRA") Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Having heard oral arguments and considered the parties' submissions, the Court adopts the following order.

I. BACKGROUND

On May 9, 2014, Plaintiff's state court complaint alleging discriminatory and/or retaliatory behavior on the part of Defendant was removed to this Court, initiating a case with the same parties as this case, No. 2:14-cv-03610-DDP-PLA, hereinafter the "3610 action." In that case, Plaintiff's initial complaint alleged, as its Fourth Cause of Action, "Retaliation in Violation of Public Policy." (3610 action, Dkt. No. 1.)

On August 7, 2014, Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, alleging, inter alia, inadequate pleading and statutory immunity. (3610 action, Dkt. No. 12.) In his opposition to the motion, Plaintiff asked that if the Court ruled that the Fourth Cause of Action was barred by immunity, he be allowed to "file a Retaliation claim in violation of Government Code Section 12940(h), entitled "FEHA Retaliation claim." CTCA does not immunize SCRRA from retaliation liability arising from violating 12940(h)." (3610 action, Dkt. No. 14 at 7.) The Court, however, ruled only on the inadequate pleading issue, finding the Fourth Cause of Action, and did not address the immunity question. (3610 action, Dkt. No. 23.)

Defendant then moved for reconsideration of the Court's order, asking the Court to consider the immunity question. (3610 action, Dkt. No. 24.) While that motion was pending, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). (3610 action, Dkt. No. 25.) To prevent needless multiplication of motion practice, the Court read the motion for reconsideration as equally applicable to a substantially identical claim, now styled the Second Cause of Action, in the FAC. (3610 action, Dkt. No. 33 at 5:3-5 & n.3.) The Court found that the claim was a common law "Tameny" claim and used the statutes it mentioned only as points of reference in determining "public policy" for purposes of asserting the common law claim. (Id. at 3-6.) The claim specifically gave Labor Code § 1102.5 as an example of such a "public policy"-declaring statute, because it "protects employees for opposing the utilization of the at-will' agreement practice... when such practice is discriminatory and violative of California Government Code §§ 12920, 12921 and 12940. " (3610 action, Dkt. No. 25, ¶ 59(b).) Those Government Code sections are part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or "FEHA." Those sections are mentioned nowhere else in the Complaint's Fourth Cause of Action or the FAC's Second Cause of Action. The Court therefore, on reconsideration, held that the common law claim was barred by immunity and granted Plaintiff leave to amend "solely to state a claim for a statutory violation of Cal. Labor Code § 1102.5, if such a claim is warranted." (3610 action, Dkt. No. 33 at 6.)

Plaintiff subsequently filed a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") stating a claim for a violation of § 1102.5. (3610 action, Dkt. No. 34.) Litigation in the 3610 action proceeds on Plaintiff's remaining claims.

Plaintiff has also filed a second state complaint, alleging retaliation in violation of Cal. Gov't Code § 12940, a section of FEHA; that complaint was removed and forms the basis of this action. (Dkt. No. 1.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Rule 12(b)(1)

Under Rule 12(b)(1), a party may move to dismiss a complaint or claim for "lack of subject-matter jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).

B. Rule 12(b)(6)

Under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss when it contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must "accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir.2000). "When there are well-pleaded factual ...


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