United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS RE:
DKT. NO. 15
H. KOH United States District Judge
Nayereh Madani (“Plaintiff”) brings this suit for
disability, age, and national origin discrimination against
Defendant County of Santa Clara (“Defendant”).
Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. ECF
No. 15. Having considered the parties' briefing, the
relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
February 2, 2004, Plaintiff began working for the Santa Clara
Valley Medical Center (“Medical Center”) as a
Nurse Coordinator. ECF No. 1, Complaint
(“Compl.”) ¶ 9. In May 2005, Plaintiff was
promoted to Assistant Nurse Manager. Id. ¶ 10.
Plaintiff provided patient care and coordinated support
April 29, 2009, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Defendant
in the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa
Clara, Case No. 1-09-CV-141316. The case involved claims for
discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to
accommodate, defamation, and violations of public policy.
Id. ¶ 11. The state court case settled in
December 2009. Id.
February 9, 2012, Plaintiff sent to Medical Center a letter
in which Plaintiff asserted that “Edna Esguerra has
created a hostile work environment for me by persistent,
offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting
behavior.” Id. ¶ 12. The letter allegedly
did not prevent Esguerra's continued hostile conduct, and
as a result, Plaintiff took disability leave from May 2012 to
January 2013. Id. ¶ 13. On Plaintiff's
return to work, Plaintiff took a reduced work schedule
“in order to manage her stress and anxiety.”
March 27, 2013, Esguerra informed Plaintiff by letter that
Esguerra was recommending that Plaintiff be suspended from
her position as Assistant Nurse Manager for two work weeks.
Id. ¶ 14. Esguerra stated in the letter that
she made the recommendation based on Plaintiff's
violation of “certain Merit System Rules and Department
Policies or Procedures.” Id.
April 25, 2013, a hearing was held on Plaintiff's
suspension, and on June 19, 2013, Medical Center issued a
written decision “upholding the suspension
recommendation of ten (10) work days.” Id.
Plaintiff served her suspension from July 29, 2013 to August
11, 2013. Id.
August 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint of Employment
Discrimination (“August 2, 2013 Administrative
Charge”) with the California Department of Fair
Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) and the federal
United States Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). ECF No. 16-1. The administrative charge
alleges that Plaintiff suffered discrimination on the basis
of her race, national origin, religion, and disability.
Id. at 2.
September 19, 2013, Esguerra placed Plaintiff on
administrative leave. Id. The complaint does not
allege how long the administrative leave lasted. Id.
months later, on March 6, 2014, Esguerra recommended that
Plaintiff be demoted from her position as “Assistant
Nurse Manager to  Clinical Nurse II with no [Registered
Nurse] responsibilities.” Id. ¶ 15. The
recommendation for a demotion was based on violation of
“certain Merit System Rules and Department Policies or
Procedures.” Id. On March 25, 2014, a hearing
was held on Plaintiff's demotion. Id. On June 4,
2014, Esguerra amended her letter to include more
allegations, such as Plaintiff's prior July 29, 2013 to
August 11, 2013 suspension. Id.
August 26, 2014, a decision was issued that demoted Plaintiff
from her position as Assistant Nurse Manager to Clinical
Nurse II. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff started her new
position on September 15, 2014. Id.
Plaintiff's demotion, Plaintiff requested reduced work
hours and a modified work schedule as reasonable
accommodations for a disability. Id. ¶ 18.
Plaintiff alleges that Medical Center did not engage in a
“good-faith interactive process” and did not
provide the requested accommodations.
January 27, 2015, Medical Center placed Plaintiff on paid
administrative leave. Id. ¶ 21. On October 26,
2015, Plaintiff filed a second administrative charge alleging
employment discrimination (“October 26, 2015
Administrative Charge”) with the DFEH and cross-filed
the charge with the EEOC. Id. ¶ 22.
Plaintiff's complaint does not allege what actions were
challenged by the October 26, 2015 Administrative Charge. On
September 14, 2016, DFEH issued a “Notice of Case
Closure and Right to Sue Letter.” Id. ¶
November 30, 2016, Medical Center terminated Plaintiff's
position at Medical Center. Id. ¶ 24. On
December 7, 2016, Plaintiff filed a third charge of
employment discrimination (“December 7, 2016
Administrative Charge”) with DFEH, and obtained a
second Notice of Case Closure and Right to Sue. Id.
¶ 25. Once again, Plaintiff's complaint does not
allege what actions were challenged by the December 7, 2016
December 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant suit against
Defendant. See Compl. Plaintiff's complaint
alleges 11 causes of action: (1) disability discrimination in
violation of the federal American's with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”); (2) disability discrimination in
violation of the California Fair Employment Housing Act
(“FEHA”); (3) failure to provide reasonable
accommodation under the FEHA; (4) failure to engage in a
good-faith interactive process concerning Plaintiff's
request for reasonable accommodation under the FEHA; (5)
wrongful termination in violation of public policy; (6) age
discrimination under the federal Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (“ADEA”); (7) age discrimination
under the FEHA; (8) national origin discrimination under
Title VII; (9) national origin discrimination under the FEHA;
(10) retaliation; and (11) hostile work environment. FAC
January 30, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion to
dismiss. See Mot. On February 6, 2017, Plaintiff
filed an opposition, ECF No. 19 (“Opp'n”),
and on March 13, 2017, Defendant filed a reply, ECF No. 25
Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) should be granted when a complaint does not 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).
purposes of ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court
“accept[s] factual allegations in the complaint as true
and construe[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire
& Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir.
2008). The Court, however, need not accept as true
allegations contradicted by judicially noticeable facts,
see Shwarz v. United States, 234 F.3d 428, 435 (9th
Cir. 2000), and it “may look beyond the plaintiff's
complaint to matters of public record” without
converting the Rule 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary
judgment, Shaw v. Hahn, 56 F.3d 1128, 1129 n.1 (9th
Cir. 1995). Nor must the Court “assume the truth of
legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of
factual allegations.” Fayer v. Vaughn, 649
F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (per curiam). Mere
“conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted
inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to
dismiss.” Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179,
1183 (9th Cir. 2004).
Leave to Amend
Court concludes that the complaint should be dismissed, it
must then decide whether to grant leave to amend. Under Rule
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, leave to amend
“shall be freely given when justice so requires,
” bearing in mind “the underlying purpose of Rule
15 . . . [is] to facilitate decision on the merits, rather
than on the pleadings or technicalities.” Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Nonetheless, a district
court may deny leave to amend a complaint due to “undue
delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of
amendment.” See Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG
Music Publ'g, 512 F.3d 522, 532 (9th Cir. 2008).
instant motion, Defendant argues that (1) Plaintiff's
sixth cause of action for age discrimination under the ADEA
and seventh cause of action for age discrimination under the
FEHA, to the extent they are based on Plaintiff's July
29, 2013 to August 11, 2013 suspension, are barred because
Plaintiff failed to file an administrative charge within the
relevant statute of limitations; (2) Plaintiffs first and
second causes of action for disability discrimination under
the ADA and the FEHA, sixth and seventh causes of action for
age discrimination under the ADEA and the FEHA, and eighth
and ninth causes of action for national origin discrimination
under Title VII and the FEHA, to the extent they are based on
Plaintiffs September 15, 2014 demotion, are barred because
Plaintiff failed to file an administrative charge within the
relevant statute of limitations; (3) Plaintiffs fifth cause
of action for wrongful termination in violation of public
policy is barred by the California Government Tort Claims
Act, Cal. Gov't Code § 815 et seq.; (4)
Plaintiffs eleventh cause of action for hostile work
environment is barred either by the California Government
Tort Claims Act or because of Plaintiff s failure to file an
administrative charge within the relevant statute of
limitations. Defendant and Plaintiff also request judicial
notice. The Court first addresses the parties' requests
for judicial notice, and then addresses each of
Defendant's arguments in turn.
Requests for Judicial Notice
Court first addresses Defendant's requests for judicial
notice, ECF Nos. 16, 26, and Plaintiffs request for judicial
notice, ECF No. 19-1. The Court may take judicial notice of
matters that are either “generally known within the
trial court's territorial jurisdiction” or
“can be accurately and readily determined from sources
whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.”
Fed.R.Evid. 201(b). Public records, including judgments and
other publicly filed documents, are proper subjects of
judicial notice. See, e.g., United States v. Black,482 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2007) (“[Courts] may take
notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and
without the federal judicial system, if those ...