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Esonwune v. Regents University of California

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division

June 19, 2017



          LAUREL BEELER United States Magistrate Judge.


         The plaintiff, who is representing herself, sued the Regents of the University of California, alleging that they discriminated against her based on her disability and gender while she was a student at the University of California San Francisco, School of Pharmacy.[1] The defendant Regents have moved to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). The court finds that it can decide the matter without oral argument, see Civ. L. R. 7-1(b), and grants the motion. The court also conducts mandatory screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and dismisses the plaintiff's claims against UCSF Chancellor Samuel Hawgood.


         The plaintiff alleges that she is a U.S. Citizen of Nigerian descent, female, and disabled.[2] She enrolled as a student in the School of Pharmacy.[3] She alleges the following in her complaint about the alleged discrimination against her:

• In 2014, she learned that Asian professors did not want to meet with African disabled employees and would not keep their office hours or would say that they were busy if she tried to speak with them after class. But they would be available to write her up for an alleged violation of school rules. (¶ 29)
• In Winter 2015, Professor Betty Dong administered an exam, did not give her proper instructions, gave her a D, and refused to change the grade or meet with her. (¶ 30)
• In Summer 2015, Regents Employee Dr. Jaekyu Shin told her that she failed an exam and refused to let her inspect it in October 2015. (¶ 31) She asked to retake the exam because she had not been able to prepare over the summer (because she was caring for her son, who sustained a fractured right knee). (¶ 32) She sought support from her course director because the Associate Dean of Student and Curriculum Affairs recommended it; instead, Dr. Shin started yelling at her for being self-centered. (¶ 33) Dr. Shin blamed her for taking up too many resources because "arrangements have to be made and a proctor has to be paid for the student to take her exam"; she was forced to retake the exam and received an A. (¶ 34). As a result of the treatment, she had to receive counseling; Dr. Shin did not provide her with reasonable accommodation under the ADA. (¶ 35)
• From August 15, 2016 to September 23, 2016, Dr. Maggie Hingman Moy was her preceptor and told her on the first day of class that she did not feel comfortable allowing the plaintiff to see patients. (¶ 36) Dr. Moy was indifferent, unsupportive, and uninterested in providing the plaintiff real training any time that the plaintiff asked for help. (¶ 37) On September 12, 2016, during the plaintiff's presentation, Dr. Moy was indifferent and took two phone calls. (¶ 38)
• On September 15, 2016, Dr. Katherine Yang filed a discipline report based on the plaintiff's failure to respond to earlier emails from Dr. Heidi Macmaster; she gave no verbal warning in violation of school policy and did not provide the plaintiff with reasonable accommodation under the ADA. (¶¶ 39-40)
• In November 2016, Dr. Jennie Chang made false accusations in the plaintiff's midterm evaluation that the plaintiff was misleading about her oncology work experience, which will cause the plaintiff professional damage. (¶ 44) Dr. Chang told the plaintiff that - according to UCSF staff members - the plaintiff was not a good student. (¶ 45)
• On December 27, 2016, Dr. Yang emailed the plaintiff for an answer about a student project and then wrote her up for not answering email within a certain number of hours; the plaintiff was recovering from an automobile accident. (¶ 48) Dr. Yang filed reports regarding the plaintiff's violations regarding patient-information-discharge data. (¶¶ 49-51) Dr. Yang and Dr. Tsourounis acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in bad faith. (¶ 51) The plaintiff received a write-up in January 2017 for violating a patient's Privacy Act rights and for not answering email in a timely way. (¶ 62)
• On January 18, 2017, Dr. Sharon Youmans in the office of the Vice Dean told the plaintiff that she would be dismissed from the school for not showing up to a meeting. The plaintiff told Dr. Youmans that she would have to ride public transport for over two hours (presumably to get to the meeting). Dr. Youmans knew that the plaintiff was engaging in protected activity and was disabled and made no effort to accommodate her disability. (¶ 52)
• On February 1, 2017, Dr. Youmans placed the plaintiff on academic probation and expelled her from classes. (¶ 55). The plaintiff alleges that she was suspended for failing a formal grievance about ADA reasonable accommodation on January 19, 2017. (¶ 57) She also says that she raised sex-based harassment issues. By contrast, a male ...

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