United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JEFFREY S. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is the motion for summary judgment filed by
Defendant Verizon Wireless, LLC (“Defendant”).
The Court finds the motion suitable for disposition without
oral argument and therefore VACATES the hearing set for March
24, 2017. See N.D. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having
considered the parties' papers, the relevant legal
authority, and good cause appearing, the Court GRANTS IN PART
and DENIES IN PART Defendant's motion for summary
Nicaise Dogbo has a disability which renders him completely
blind. Despite his disability, Plaintiff has earned a degree
in Electrical Engineering and has over fifteen years of
experience working with website accessibility issues at many
different companies. (See Complaint at ¶ 8.) On
December 5, 2014, Plaintiff applied online for a Web
Accessibility SME/QA Analyst position offered by Defendant,
which was posted by Defendant Randstad Technologies, LP, a
professional staffing agency.
interviewed by telephone for the position. (Id. at
¶ 11.) Thereafter, Plaintiff completed an online
Accessibility Sample Test, during which, as instructed, he
evaluated the content of the page's accessibility based
on customer experience via a screen reader and found a
minimum of three issues. (Id. at ¶ 12.) After
explaining why he may have missed several items on the test,
but without disclosing his disability, Plaintiff was
eventually hired for the position. (Id. at
beginning work, Plaintiff notified Defendant that he was
visually impaired and would require a screen reader to be
installed at his work station. (Id. at ¶ 22.)
On February 9, 2015, Plaintiff reported for work and, after
being escorted to his work station, was left at his desk for
the rest of the day without work or further instructions.
(Id. at ¶¶ 23-24.) Thereafter, Plaintiff
was told that the work order for his screen reader had not
yet been created and was asked not to return to work until
further notice. (Id. at ¶ 25.) On March 10,
2015, after a month without indication from Defendant about
whether Plaintiff would return to work, Plaintiff was
terminated and told that he was unable to fulfill the
requirements of the position because of his physical
disability. (Id. at ¶ 27.)
August 24, 2015, Plaintiff filed a complaint before the
Superior Court of the County of Contra Costa for retaliation
in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing
Act (“FEHA”), disability discrimination in
violation of FEHA, failure to accommodate and engage in
interactive process in violation of FEHA, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination in
violation of public policy. On September 25, 2015, Defendants
removed the action to this Court pursuant to diversity
jurisdiction. On February 10, 2017, Defendant moved for
summary judgment on the claims.
Court shall refer to additional, specific facts as necessary
in the remainder of this Order.
Legal Standard for Motion for Summary Judgment.
principal purpose of the summary judgment procedure is to
identify and dispose of factually unsupported claims.
Celotex Corp. v. Cattrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24
(1986). Summary judgment is proper when the “pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “In considering a
motion for summary judgment, the court may not weigh the
evidence or make credibility determinations, and is required
to draw all inferences in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party.” Freeman v. Arpaio, 125 F.3d
732, 735 (9th Cir. 1997).
party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
identifying those portions of the pleadings, discovery, and
affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). An issue of fact is
“genuine” only if there is sufficient evidence
for a reasonable fact finder to find for the non-moving
party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248-49 (1986). A fact is “material” if it
may affect the outcome of the case. Id. at 248. Once
the moving party meets its initial burden, the non-moving
party must go beyond the pleadings and, by its own evidence,
“set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
order to make this showing, the non-moving party must
“identify with reasonable particularity the evidence
that precludes summary judgment.” Keenan v.
Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting
Richards v. Combined Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 247, 251 (7th
Cir. 1995) (stating that it is not a district court's
task to “scour the record in search of a genuine issue
of triable fact”); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(e). If the non-moving party fails to point to
evidence precluding summary judgment, the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3).