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Grant v. City and County of San Francisco

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 23, 2018

DE'MARIO GRANT, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO; FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SAN FRANCISCO; CORPORATION OF FINE ARTS MUSEUMS, severally and as joint employers; HUGO GRAY; CHARLES CASTILLO; and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND

          WILLIAM ALSUP, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         In this employment action, plaintiff moves to amend the complaint. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is Granted.

         STATEMENT

         The following facts are taken from plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint. In late 2010, the City and County of San Francisco hired plaintiff De'Mario Grant to work as a museum guard for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, a charitable trust department of the City. At all relevant times Grant was an individual with physical disabilities, and in 2015, he submitted a request for intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. Grant alleges numerous adverse employment actions as a result of this request.

         Defendant Corporation of Fine Arts Museums is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to support the operation of the Fine Arts Museums. The Corporation manages most of the day-to-day operations of the museums, and is involved with the museum stores, employees, fund-raising, membership, education, and art handling.

         A prior order dismissed plaintiff's claims against the Corporation on the grounds that plaintiff's first amended complaint failed to sufficiently plead that the Corporation was his employer. Additionally, the complaint (1) failed to identify the Corporation as a party against whom any claim for relief was brought, (2) failed to identify the Corporation as a party in the “Parties and Jurisdiction” section of the complaint, and (3) failed to allege that the Corporation was an employer subject to the FMLA and CFRA. Plaintiff now moves for leave to amend his complaint to correct these deficiencies (Dkt. Nos. 43, 46).

         ANALYSIS

         Rule 15(a)(2) advises, “The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” In ruling on motions for leave to amend, courts consider (1) bad faith, (2) undue delay, (3) prejudice to the opposing party, (4) futility of amendment, and (5) whether the plaintiff has previously amended their complaint. Nunes v. Ashcroft, 375 F.3d 805, 808 (9th Cir. 2003). Futility alone can justify denying leave to amend. Ibid. The Corporation opposes the motion, arguing that amendment would be futile and unduly prejudicial, and that plaintiff has repeatedly failed to cure deficiencies in previous amendments.

         1. Futility of Amendment.

         “A motion for leave to amend may be denied if it appears to be futile or legally insufficient. . . . [The] proper test to be applied when determining the legal sufficiency of a proposed amendment is identical to the one used when considering the sufficiency of a pleading challenged under Rule 12(b)(6).” Miller v. Rycoff-Sexton, Inc., 845 F.2d 209, 214 (9th Cir. 1988). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         Each of plaintiff's ten claims for relief can only be brought against his employer. 29 U.S.C. § 2615 (FMLA); Cal. Gov't Code § 12945.2 (CFRA); Cal. Gov't Code § 12940 (FEHA). It is uncontested that the City and the Fine Arts Museums are both plaintiff's employers. Plaintiff argues that the Corporation can also be held liable as his employer because the Corporation and the Fine Arts Museums were an “integrated enterprise.” This order agrees, at least at the pleading stage.

         Separate entities will be deemed to be parts of a single employer for purposes of FMLA if they meet the integrated employer test. Factors considered in determining whether two or more entities are an integrated employer include: (i) common management; (ii) interrelation between operations; (iii) centralized control of labor relations; and (iv) degree of common ownership/financial control. 29 C.F.R. § 825.104(c)(2); see also Laird v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., 68 Cal.App.4th 727, 737 (1998) (applying same test for FEHA). “Corporate entities are presumed to have separate existences, and the corporate form will be disregarded only when the ends of justice require this result.” Laird, 68 Cal.App.4th at 737. While courts apply the four factors in its totality, “centralized control of labor relations [is] the most important.” Ibid.

         Here, for purposes of determining if plaintiff's proposed amended complaint is subject to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), this order holds that plaintiff has alleged enough factual material to show that the ...


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