United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division
ORDER GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS' SUMMARY-JUDGMENT
MOTION Re: ECF No. 53
BEELER United States Magistrate Judge
an employment-discrimination action. Ajati Sankoh worked for the
Alameda County Environmental Health Department. He claims that
the County and his supervisor Lucia Hui failed to promote him
and eventually terminated him based on his race and national
origin. Ms. Hui and the County move for summary
judgment on the ground that the parties settled, and Mr.
Sankoh released employment claims in a settlement
agreement. The court found the matter suitable for
determination without oral argument under Civil Local Rule
7-1(b) and vacated the July 13, 2017 hearing. The court
grants the summary-judgment motion because the parties'
settlement agreement bars Mr. Sankoh's claims here.
Sankoh worked as a Vector Control Officer for the County,
which fired him in 2014 - after a year-long investigation -
for dishonesty, abuse of his position, and misuse of a County
In brief, Mr. Sankoh used his position to threaten an
automobile mechanic to avoid paying the full cost of repairs
to his Porsche, used his work car inappropriately (to visit
the repair shop), and was a repeat offender.
2014, the County closed its investigation and informed Mr.
Sankoh that his conduct violated Rules 2100 and 2104 of the
Rules and Regulations of the Alameda County Civil Service
Commission. Mr. Sankoh then lodged a complaint
alleging the County discriminated against him based on his
race when it failed to promote him or reimburse him for
training expenses. The County investigated Mr. Sankoh's
allegations and concluded that they were not
substantiated.The County held a pre-termination
administrative hearing (called a Skelly
hearing). See Skelly v. State Pers. Bd.,
529 P.2d 774 (Cal. 1975). In November 2014, the County fired
Mr. Sankoh. He then appealed.
appeal, the Office of Administrative Hearings
(“OAH”) scheduled five hearing dates in June
2015. Mr. Sankoh, who was represented by
counsel, filed a statement of defenses that included
allegations that he suffered disparate treatment based on his
race. Before the first hearing commenced, the
parties told OAH Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Diane Schneider that they had reached a settlement and asked
to continue the hearing approximately two weeks to June 15,
2015. The County sent Mr. Sankoh and his
counsel a proposed settlement agreement. Mr.
Sankoh's lawyer then told the County that Mr. Sankoh no
longer wanted to settle. ALJ Schneider set a prehearing
conference and mandatory settlement conference.
parties attended the mandatory settlement conference on June
23, 2015, and settled the case with a settlement agreement
dated June 23, 2015. OAH ALJ David Benjamin conducted the
settlement conference; Mr. Sankoh was represented by counsel
at all times. The County agreed to rescind Mr.
Sankoh's termination, pay him seven months of additional
salary, and accept his voluntary resignation. Mr. Sankoh
agreed to resign, withdraw his appeal, withdraw the
complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) and California Department of
Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”), and release
any and all claims against the defendants. The full
release is as follows:
[Mr. Sankoh] agrees to release, acquit, and forever discharge
[the County] and each of its predecessors, successors,
assigns, heirs, principals, attorneys, all of their officers,
boards, commissions, agencies, and County's employees,
agents and individual Board of Supervisors members, and
government entities whether previously or hereafter
affiliated in any manner, individually and collectively, from
any and all actions, causes of action, claims, demands,
damages, costs, loss of services, expenses or compensation,
on account of or in any way growing out of, any and all known
and unknown personal injuries or damages to any property,
loss of civil rights, denial of due process, constitutional
claims, economic loss, damage to reputation, or any other
causes of action relating to his employment or the underlying
circumstances that prompted the proposed action described in
the September 16, 2014 Intent to Discipline letter referenced
above, including but not limited to any and all claims under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the
American with Disabilities Act, as amended, the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act, as amended, the California
Constitution, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act,
as amended, the California Labor Code, and any other local,
state or federal law or constitution governing employment or
the payment of wages and benefits and any claim for
reimbursement of expenses of any type or kind, except as
prohibited by public policy.
28, 2016, Mr. Sankoh filed this lawsuit claiming the County
failed to promote and wrongfully terminated him based on his
race and national origin. The defendants then moved for
summary judgment based on the written settlement agreement
court must grant a motion for summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). Material facts are
those that may affect the outcome of the case.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute about a
material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for
a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving
party. Id. at 248-49.
party moving for summary judgment has the initial burden of
informing the court of the basis for the motion and
presenting evidence that demonstrates the absence of a
triable issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To meet its burden,
“the moving party must either produce evidence negating
an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim or
defense or show that the nonmoving party does not have enough
evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden
of persuasion at trial.” Nissan Fire & Marine
Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th
moving party meets its initial burden, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to produce evidence supporting its
claims. Nissan Fire & Marine, 210 F.3d at 1103.
The non-moving party may not rest upon mere allegations or
denials of the adverse party's evidence, but instead must
produce admissible evidence that shows there is a genuine
issue of material fact for trial. Id. at 248-49. If
the non-moving party does not produce evidence to show a
genuine issue of material fact, the moving party is entitled
to summary judgment. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
parties' settlement agreement - and Mr. Sankoh's
release - bar this lawsuit. A settlement agreement is binding
and enforceable like any other contract. United
Commercial Ins. Serv., Inc. v. Paymaster Corp., 962 F.2d
853, 856 (9th Cir. 1992); see also Callie v. Near,
829 F.2d 888, 890 (9th Cir. 1987). To be enforced, a
settlement agreement must meet two requirements. First, it
must be a “complete ...