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Parks v. Port of Oakland

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 3, 2017

PORT OF OAKLAND, et al., Defendants.


          HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge.

         Pending before this Court are two motions to dismiss the first amended complaint, filed by Defendants the Port of Oakland, Dkt. No. 13, and the City of Oakland, Dkt. No. 18. For the reasons detailed below, the Court GRANTS the City of Oakland's motion and GRANTS the Port of Oakland's motion in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Sherri Jean Parks has been a plumber with the Port of Oakland for approximately twelve years. Dkt. No. 5 ¶¶ 6, 18 (“FAC”). Her job responsibilities include “installing, maintaining, and repairing water, sewer, and gas piping for buildings and grounds at the harbor.” Id. ¶ 6. She also reads and organizes blueprints, creates rough drawings, maintains, cleans, and stocks the plumbing shop, reads water meters, and tests eyewash stations. Id. According to Plaintiff, she “was able to and did perform [her] job satisfactorily” and “took on leadership roles and received good and outstanding in areas on evaluations.” Id. ¶ 9.

         As part of her employment, Plaintiff alleges that she was required to become a certified backflow assembly tester in the Spring of 2003. Id. ¶ 12. “When similarly situated males received their certification they were offered a 6% pay increase.” Id. Although Plaintiff “obtained [her] certification, ” she “never received [a] similar offer or increase.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that the sole reason she did not receive this increase is because she is a woman. Id. ¶¶ 10-11, 14-15. When she complained, she was threatened with termination. Id. ¶¶ 12, 16.

         Plaintiff further alleges that in the Spring of 2013, she was scheduled for surgery for a torn rotator cuff. See Id. ¶¶ 17, 19. At her supervisor's urging, she requested one shift off a week until her surgery to accommodate her medical appointments. Id. ¶ 26. She corroborated her request with a doctor's note. Id. Once she did so, her employer refused to allow her to continue working before her surgery. Id. ¶¶ 21-22, 26. She was later told that her medical appointments had “made scheduling her impossible, ” although she always received prior approval. Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff further alleges that another employee with medical appointments was still allowed to work leading up to his surgery even though she was not. Id.

         The Port hired a temporary plumber during Plaintiff's absence. Id. ¶ 26. When she was ready to return to work, the Port delayed discussing reasonable work accommodations with her. Id. ¶ 31. When they finally met with her in January 2014, they would not explore “even minimal accommodation” and were concerned about their own liability if she returned. Id.

         In response, Plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action on July 19, 2016. Dkt. No. 1. She later amended her complaint on October 14, 2016, to assert claims for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), and the Equal Pay Act. See Dkt. No. 5.


         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court may dismiss a complaint when it does not contain sufficient facts to state a plausible claim on its face. See Bell Atlantic 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). This plausibility standard “asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. The Court must accept all the plaintiff's allegations as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). However, the Court is not required to accept as true “allegations that contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice or by exhibit.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) (“A copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all purposes”). Nor is it required to accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” Id.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff brings this case against both the City of Oakland (“City”) and the Port of Oakland (“Port”). The Court addresses each Defendant in turn.

         A. City of Oakland

         The City contends that it is not a proper defendant in this case because Plaintiff is employed by the Port and not the City. See Dkt. No. 18 at 5-7. The City relies on ...

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