United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MORRISON C. ENGLAND, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRTCT JUDGE
Oralee Woodson (“Plaintiff”) alleges that
Defendant California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) breached a contract and
violated Plaintiff's civil rights by ending her
participation in the Foster Grandparent Program (“the
Program”). Currently before this Court is the
CDCR's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). ECF No. 28.
Plaintiff has failed to file any opposition to that
Motion. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant
CDCR's Motion is GRANTED.
is an African-American woman. For more than ten years, she
served as a “Foster Grandparent” in the
CDCR'S Program at the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional
Facility. Plaintiff's duties in that capacity were to
provide mentorship and to act as a role model for juvenile
offenders. Plaintiff alleges she was compensated as a Foster
Grandparent through an hourly stipend, reimbursements for
transportation and meals, as well as time off for various
purposes including sick leave, holidays and vacation.
Plaintiff further alleges that she was covered under federal
and state compensation for work-related accidents.
to Plaintiff, she performed her duties satisfactorily and
without complaint prior to being terminated on March 20,
2014. Beginning in March 2013, however, she claims that
Donnie Alexander, the Program Director, subjected her to
verbal and psychological abuse. Defendant Alexander allegedly
accused Plaintiff of disrespecting, slandering, and
undermining the credibility of the Program staff. Plaintiff
contends that those accusations were unverified,
unsubstantiated, and dishonest. Furthermore, Defendants
allegedly defamed Plaintiff by communicating that she
participated in theft of funds collected for a social event,
was a poor performer as a Foster Grandparent, had a problem
with authority, had a negative attitude, and was unfit for
the position. Plaintiff contends that those statements were
further claims that Defendant Alexander denied her the
opportunity to exercise grievance procedures mandated by the
Program Orientation Handbook (“Handbook”) before
terminating her participation in the Program. Specifically,
the Handbook allows “any person” to file a sexual
harassment claim. Plaintiff contends that her termination was
based on pretextual grounds and that she was terminated
because of her “sex, race/color, national
origin/ancestry, and job status.” FAC, ¶ 26. She
also claims, without further factual explication, that
Alexander “had a reputation” for “harassing
minority women.” Id. at ¶ 35.
original Complaint was filed on February 27, 2015, in San
Joaquin Superior Court before being removed to this Court
based on federal claims that Defendants violated both Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq, (“Title VII”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
(“Section 1981”). On June 10, 2015, Defendants
filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule
12(c). That motion was granted by Memorandum and Order filed
February 10, 2016, on grounds that Plaintiff, as a Foster
Grandparent volunteer, had not shown she was entitled to
protection under either Title VII or California's
corresponding protections against discrimination as codified
in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government
Code § 12900, et seq. (“FEHA”). The Court
further found that Plaintiff's defamation claims, as well
as the claims levied against Defendant Alexander, were not
viable. She was nonetheless given leave to amend and, on
February 28, 2016, she filed the currently operative First
response to the FAC, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss
seeking dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of (1) the FEHA
and Title VII claims in causes of action two, three, and
thirteen, (2) the defamation claim in cause of action five,
and (3) the breach of contract claim against Defendant
Alexander in cause of action one. That motion was granted by
Memorandum and Order filed November 14, 2016, which left as
Plaintiff's only surviving claim her cause of action
against breach of contract against Defendant CDCR.
See ECF No. 27, 14:3-4.
motion now before the Court, Defendant CDCR requests judgment
on the pleadings with respect to that remaining breach of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), “a party may
move for judgment on the pleadings” after the pleadings
are closed “but early enough not to delay trial.”
A motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c)
challenges the legal sufficiency of the opposing party's
pleadings. See, e.g., Westlands Water Dist. v.
Bureau of Reclamation, 805 F.Supp. 1503, 1506 (E.D. Cal.
1992). Any party may move for judgment on the pleadings under
Rule 12(c) after the pleadings are closed but within such
time as to not delay trial.
motion for judgment on the pleadings should only be granted
if “the moving party clearly establishes on the face of
the pleadings that no material issue of fact remains to be
resolved and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.'” Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard
Feiner & Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir.
1989). Judgment on the pleadings is also proper when there is
either a “lack of cognizable legal theory” or the
“absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable
legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). In reviewing a
Rule 12(c) motion, “all factual allegations in the
complaint [must be accepted] as true and construe[d] . . . in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir.
2009). Judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is
warranted “only if it is clear that no relief could be
granted under any set of facts that could be proved
consistent with the allegations.” Deveraturda v.
Globe Aviation Sec. Servs., 454 F.3d 1043, 1046 (9th
Cir. 2006) (internal citations omitted).
Rule 12(c) does not mention leave to amend, courts have the
discretion in appropriate cases to grant a Rule 12(c) motion
with leave to amend, or to simply grant dismissal of the
action instead of entry of judgment. See Lonberg v. City
of Riverside, 300 F.Supp.2d 942, 945 (C.D. Cal. ...