United States District Court, E.D. California
Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Tarango is an employee of the City of Bakersfield. He asserts
the City is liable for discriminating against him on the
basis of his hearing impairment through a failure to
accommodate his disability, denial of promotions and other
privileges and treating him with deliberate indifference. The
City denies the allegations of discrimination.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1343, and supplemental jurisdiction for
Plaintiff's claims arising under state law pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367. In addition, the events that gave rise to
this action occurred in Bakersfield, California. Accordingly,
venue is proper in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of California sitting in Bakersfield.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
parties demanded a jury trial in this matter. (Doc. 1 at 13;
Doc. 14 at 14)
Plaintiff is a profoundly deaf individual.
Plaintiff's preferred language is American Sign Language.
Plaintiff was hired by the City on September 5, 1995, as a
Fleet Service Worker I.
March 1, 1999, Plaintiff was promoted to the position of
Fleet Service Worker II.
March 23, 2015, Plaintiff was promoted to the position of
Fleet Mechanic I.
Plaintiff has been an employee of the City of Bakersfield for
nearly 22 years and is still presently employed by the City.
Plaintiff's primary language is American Sign Language.
Plaintiff has a limited ability to communicate via speech,
reading, or writing.
Plaintiff requires an American Sign Language interpreter in
order to participate in group meetings, meetings with
management or supervisors, and trainings.
Plaintiff was only promoted in 2015, after 16 years since his
last promotion, because he had complained to Human Resources
about not being provided accommodation for his disability and
because he had filed a complaint with the California
Department of Fair Employment and Housing
Plaintiff has been overlooked for new job opportunities that
arise in his workplace despite his seniority over other
younger, non-deaf co-workers.
Plaintiff has also been asked to train younger, non-deaf
employees, who have then been promoted over him and given the
ability to earn more pay.
Plaintiff has also been denied the opportunity to attend and
to equally participate in classes and receive further
training, unlike other non-disabled co-workers.
Throughout his employment, Plaintiff has made repeated
requests for an ASL interpreter to facilitate effective
communication, but these requests are routinely denied.
particular, Plaintiff has been forced to attend mandatory
meetings without the benefit of an ASL interpreter.
Plaintiff has never been provided an ASL interpreter for
safety classes, which he is forced to sit through with his
other co-workers despite the fact that he is unable to hear
or participate by asking questions or understanding
co-workers' questions and the answers thereto.
Plaintiff has been subjected to exceptional scrutiny by his
supervisors, who have treated him rudely and with deliberate
indifference because he is deaf.
This treatment has caused Plaintiff to feel belittled,
humiliated, ashamed, and completely isolated, which has also
led to anxiety and depression.
Plaintiff has repeatedly advised Defendant about the
Americans with Disabilities Act; that it is the law to
provide him with Sign Language interpreters to ensure
effective communication; that he does not feel Defendant has
made any attempt to ensure reasonably equal treatment
compared to his other younger, non-disabled co-workers; that
he is losing out on promotional opportunities that he has
requested; and that he is not being provided training with an
ASL interpreter in order to be promoted and earn more pay.
Despite Plaintiff's best efforts, Defendant has treated
Plaintiff in a way that is deliberately indifferent to his
rights as a disabled individual, and has repeatedly failed to
accommodate Plaintiff's disability.
discriminatory behaviors hereinbefore described continue to
the present day, and continue to cause Plaintiff to suffer
embarrassment, violation of civil rights, emotional distress,
and irreparable damage to his reputation and career
a direct and proximate result of Defendants'
discrimination, Plaintiff has suffered and will continue to
suffer damages in an amount within the jurisdiction of this
court, the exact amount to be proven at trial. Such damages
a. loss of salary and other valuable employment benefits;
b. prejudgment interest and interest on the sum of damages at
the legal rate, and;
c. other consequential damages, including damages for shame,
humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress caused by
the conduct of Defendants.
Whether Defendant failed to take reasonable steps to prevent
discrimination, harassment, and retaliation within the
Whether, and to what extent, Plaintiff is entitled to recover
Whether, and to what extent, Plaintiff is entitled to recover
Whether, and to what extent, Plaintiff is entitled to any
form of compensatory damages for alleged emotional distress.
Whether, and to what extent, Plaintiff is entitled to secure
Whether, and to what extent, Plaintiff is entitled to
Whether Defendant can prove any and all of its affirmative
DISPUTED LEGAL ISSUES
DISPUTED EVIDENTIARY ISSUES
parties intend to file motions in limine regarding the
evidence to be used at trial.
will file a motion in limine to exclude any testimony,
documents, and/or other evidence regarding substance abuse
pursuant Fed.R.Evid. 401 and 403. Plaintiff will also file a
motion in limine regarding Defendant's abandoned or
legally insufficient affirmative defenses.
anticipates filing motions in limine as to various topics,
including but not limited to: evidence of any insurance held
by the City which may pay any damages awarded to Plaintiff;
to bar evidence of speculative damages; to bar punitive
damages; to bar evidence of speculation as to the denial of
any promotions which Plaintiff allegedly did not obtain in
the context of the City's Civil Service statutes, rules
and regulations; on the issue of what evidence should be
allowed outside the context of the applicable statute of
limitations; exclusion of testimony regarding any alleged
lost wages sustained by or medical special damages allegedly
incurred by Plaintiff; no testimony from undisclosed experts;
as to the financial condition of Plaintiff or Defendant; as
to other actions filed against the Defendant; and, to
preclude evidence not otherwise produced by Plaintiff in the
context of written discovery responses. Defendant is also
considering the propriety of other Motions in Limine at this
point in time.
hearing, counsel agreed as to the following:
1. Evidence related to any insurance held by the City which
may pay any damages awarded to Plaintiff will not be
2. Evidence related to punitive damages will not be admitted;
3. Because the City does not assert that it lacked sufficient
financial resources to make changes, if any were required, by
the Americans with Disabilities Act, evidence related to City
will not be admitted. Further, evidence of the
plaintiff's financial condition will not be admitted.
these motions are GRANTED at this time.
SPECIAL FACTUAL INFORMATION None.
seeks declaratory, injunctive, and equitable relief;
compensatory damages; and attorneys' fees and costs.
Specifically, Plaintiff seeks an injunction ordering the City
to provide American Sign Language interpreters as necessary
to enable him to enjoy equal opportunities and other
privileges of employment in the workplace. Plaintiff seeks
nominal damages in the event a jury finds liability but does
not award compensatory damages.
City seeks dismissal of this case, costs, and attorneys'
fees. (Doc. 14 at 14)
following is a list of witnesses that the parties expect to
call at trial, including rebuttal and impeachment witnesses.
NO WITNESS, OTHER THAN THOSE LISTED IN THIS SECTION, MAY BE
CALLED AT TRIAL UNLESS THE PARTIES STIPULATE OR UPON A
SHOWING THAT THIS ORDER SHOULD BE MODIFIED TO PREVENT
“MANIFEST INJUSTICE.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(e); Local
1. Emilio Tarango, Plaintiff
Shepard-Kegl, Ph.D., Plaintiff's expert witness
Christi Tenter (Plaintiff designated witness)
Miguel Raya (Plaintiff designated witness)