United States District Court, E.D. California
ROBIN E. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, et al., Defendants.
GREGORY G. HOLLOWS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
sues in pro se for alleged violations of her state and
federal rights based upon her termination from her
employment. ECF No. 1. This proceeding was referred to this
court under Local Rule 302(21) and 28 U.S.C. section
636(b)(1). Plaintiff was granted the right to proceed with
this action in forma pauperis by an Order entered on July 7,
2016. ECF No. 3
federal in forma pauperis statute authorizes federal courts
to dismiss a case if the action is legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
County of Sacramento Department of Health and Human Services
[“the Department”] and two individual defendants
filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on November 17, 2016,
ECF No. 5, and this court took the motion under submission on
January 17, 2017. ECF No. 18. This Order will address that
Motion and the sufficiency of the Complaint.
was an employee of the Department from January 18, 2005 to
October 9, 2013. ECF No. 1 at 2 ¶1. She was approved for
a Family and Medical Leave Act leave on March 8, 2013
scheduled to run through June 9, 2013 for the purpose of
addressing her mother's need for care. Id. at 4
¶13. The complaint indicates that plaintiff explained to
the DHHS that the leave was necessitated by the fact that the
cost of her mother's continuing care in an assisted
living facility was about to be raised and plaintiff needed
to acquire funds to permit her to move her mother to another
facility. Id. On April 22, 2013 DHHS notified
plaintiff that her leave was terminated and she was placed on
paid administrative leave while the Department investigated
the suspected improper use of FMLA benefits and of a
Department issued cell phone. Id. at 4 ¶14.
alleges that she was not informed that her leave was being
terminated and she should return to work because the action
was taken in retaliation for her previous complaints of
racial discrimination and harassment. Id. at
¶¶ 4-5. Plaintiff also alleges age discrimination.
Finally, plaintiff sues for damages under a generalized
series of allegations of Fourteenth Amendment and federal
statutory violations and supplemental claims for violation of
state statutory and common law violations all arising from
the Department's purported discriminatory acts either
direct or through named employees. Her complaint raises 14
claims: (1) Wrongful termination (Breach of
contract); (2) Racial Discrimination; (3) Age
Discrimination (4) Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress; (5) HIPPA Violation; (6) Failure to train; (7)
Violation of FMLA; (8) Negligent Supervision; (9)
Retaliation; (10) Blacklisting; (11) Due Process (Failure to
give notice); (12) Disability violation - Failure to Provide
Accommodation; (13) Defamation; and (14) Negligent Infliction
of Emotional Distress.
basic federal jurisdiction statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§
1331 and 1332, confer “federal question” and
“diversity” jurisdiction, respectively. Statutes
which regulate specific subject matter may also confer
federal jurisdiction. See generally W.W. Schwarzer, A.W.
Tashima & J. Wagstaffe, Federal Civil Procedure Before
Trial § 2, 5, Unless a complaint presents a plausible
assertion of a substantial federal right, a federal court
does not have jurisdiction. See Bell v. Hood, 327
U.S. 678, k 682 (1945). A federal claim which is so
insubstantial as to be patently without merit cannot serve as
the basis for federal jurisdiction. See Hagans v.
Lavine, 415 U.S. 428, 537-538 (1974).
read, one can discern that the plaintiff has stated facts
that might raise litigable rights under Title VII, 42 U.S.C.
section 2000e, rights under the Fourteenth Amendment (equal
protection, due process) and the Family Medical Leave Act
(FMLA). She has not, however, pleaded in the manner required
to clearly state claims under any theory.
under the less stringent examination afforded pro se
pleadings, simple reference to federal law does not create
subject-matter jurisdiction. Avitts v. Amoco Prod.
Co., 53 F.3d 690, 694 (5th Cir.1995). Subject-matter
jurisdiction is created only by pleading a cause of action
within the court's original jurisdiction. Id.
Here plaintiff has filed an eighteen page Complaint which
contains a general recitation of facts which are then
incorporated into each of specific legal claims without
differentiation in most cases. Further, individual defendants
are not identified in the caption but are found at the
terminal pages of the filing. There are no specific
allegations with regard to actions taken by the individual
defendants. Moreover, the federal statutes and Fourteenth
Amendment permit the naming of only certain defendants and
preclude the naming of others. The consolidation of every
defendant into every claim is not proper. This format gives
the defendants insufficient information to determine with
which claims each of them are charged and the factual basis
for those charges against them. Finally, as noted in
defendants' motion, various statute of limitations exist
for the various statutes/Fourteenth Amendment.
these and the following reasons, plaintiff's complaint
will be dismissed with leave to amend in conformity to this
Motion to Dismiss
summary, defendant Department moves to dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a cognizable claim on the following grounds: (1) Failure to
allege compliance with the California Tort Claims Act, ECF
No. 9 at 5:14; (2) State claims are barred by sovereign
immunity re both Department and individual defendants,
id. at 6:23; (3) State entity and officials cannot
be found liable for wrongful termination, id at
7:19; (4) Disparate Impact/Treatment allegations fail to
state a claim, id. at 8:13; (5) There is no private
right of action for HIPPA violations, id. at 8:25;
(6) Claim for violation of FMLA both fails to state a claim
and is barred by the applicable statute of limitations,
id. at 10:5; (7) Blacklisting allegations fail to
state a claim, id. at 12:16; (8) Fourteenth
Amendment allegations fail to state a claim, id. at
13:20; (9) Disability non-accommodation allegations fail to
state a claim, id. at 14:17; (10) 42 U.S.C. section
1983 allegations fail to state a claim and is barred by the
statute of limitations, id. at 15:3; (11) Defamation
allegations fail to state a claim, id. at 15:23;
(12) Punitive damage claim against the Department has no
basis in law, id. at 16:24.
court intends to dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.
Plaintiff is entitled to amend her complaint, at least once,
to determine whether she can in fact state a claim, e.g.,
honestly allege compliance with the California Tort Claims
Act exhaustion requirement, and curing other defects noted by
defendants, and this Order. If Plaintiff cannot allege facts,
forthrightly and candidly, which demonstrate compliance with
undoubted statutory or case law requirements, she should not
take the time of everyone making a faulty claim which will
simply be dismissed out of hand.
remainder of this Order will discuss the ordinary pleading
requirements and basic law concerning ...