United States District Court, E.D. California
California Department of Social Services’ (DSS) motion
to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint is before the court.
For the reasons set out below, the court GRANTS
August 20, 2018, plaintiff Clarice Sanders-Hollis filed a
complaint against defendant DSS alleging seven separate
California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) violations,
violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, and
violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA). Compl., ECF No. 1 at 10–17. On January 14,
2019, defendant timely removed the action to this court on
the basis of federal question jurisdiction. Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 1 at 2 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1331). On
January 22, 2019, defendant moved to dismiss
plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim on
which relief may be granted. Mot., ECF No. 3 at 1–2
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)). Plaintiff opposed, ECF No. 6,
and defendant responded, ECF No. 7. The court submitted the
motion without a hearing, ECF No. 12, and resolves it here.
may move to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
The court may grant the motion only if the complaint lacks a
“cognizable legal theory” or if its factual
allegations do not support a cognizable legal theory.
Hartmann v. Cal. Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab.,
707 F.3d 1114, 1122 (9th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). A
complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), though it need not include
“detailed factual allegations, ” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). But
“sufficient factual matter” must make the claim
at least plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). Conclusory or formulaic recitations of elements
do not alone suffice. Id. (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555). In a Rule 12(b)(6) analysis, the court must
accept well-pled factual allegations as true and construe the
complaint in plaintiff’s favor. Id.;
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93–94 (2007).
plaintiff requests leave to amend a claim subject to
dismissal, the federal rules mandate that leave “be
freely given when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a). Before granting leave, a court considers any potential
bad faith, delay, or futility regarding the proposed
amendment, and the potential prejudice to the opposing party.
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); see
also Smith v. Pac. Prop. Dev. Co., 358 F.3d 1097, 1101
(9th Cir. 2004).
does not meet her burden of pleading sufficient facts to
state a plausible claim for relief to support any of her nine
claims. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In fact,
plaintiff’s complaint does not include any allegations
of fact whatsoever; rather, the complaint merely contains
conclusory statements followed by a recitation of the
elements of each cause of action. Plaintiff must plead more
than conclusory statements to state a claim. Id.
FEHA Claims (Claims 1–7)
pleads seven claims under FEHA, Cal. Gov’t Code section
12940, discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination,
harassment, failure to prevent harassment, retaliation,
failure to provide reasonable accommodation, and failure to
engage in good faith in the interactive process. See
Compl. at 12–16 (reordered here for clarity of
establish a prima facie showing of discrimination under FEHA,
a plaintiff must provide evidence that she “(1)  was
a member of a protected class, (2)  was qualified for the
position [she] sought or was performing competently in the
position [she] held, (3)  suffered an adverse employment
action, such as termination, demotion, or denial of an
available job, and (4) some other circumstance suggests
discriminatory motive.” Nielsen v. Trofholz
Technologies, Inc., 750 F.Supp.2d 1157, 1165 (E.D. Cal.
2010) (quoting Guz v. Bechtel Nat. Inc., 24 Cal.4th
317, 355 (2000)). Plaintiff has not pleaded facts to show any
of these elements; therefore, plaintiff fails to adequately
plead a claim for discrimination under FEHA.
state a FEHA harassment claim, an employee must allege facts
showing workplace harassment was “severe enough or
sufficiently pervasive to alter the conditions of employment
and create a work environment that qualifies as hostile or
abusive to employees, ” Hughes v. Pair, 46
Cal.4th 1035, 1043 (2009) (quoting Miller v. Dep’t
of Corrs.,36 Cal.4th 446, 462 (2005)); see also
Andrade v. Staples, Inc., No. CV 14–7786 PA (Ex),
2014 WL 5106905, *3 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 9, 2014)
(“Harassment, under FEHA, ‘can take the form of
discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is
sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of
the victim's employment and create an abusive working
environment.’” (quoting Rehmani v. Superior