This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/10/2020 at 01:33:23 (UTC).

DAVID WANG VS FOOT LOCKER REAIL, INC, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 05/15/2018 DAVID WANG filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against FOOT LOCKER REAIL, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GEORGINA T. RIZK. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******7087

  • Filing Date:

    05/15/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

GEORGINA T. RIZK

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

WANG DAVID

Defendants

FOOT LOCKER INC.

FOOT LOCKER REAIL INC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

BECKSTRAND DWIGHT G

KENT MICHAEL J.

Defendant Attorney

WILLIAMS RYAN

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

9/8/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

Answer - Answer

9/8/2020: Answer - Answer

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/6/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continuance of Hearing and Order

Reply (name extension) - Reply to Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Reclassification

4/6/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply to Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Reclassification

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Michael J. Kent in Support of Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Reclassify

3/6/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Michael J. Kent in Support of Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Reclassify

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

3/6/2020: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

Substitution of Attorney - Substitution of Attorney

8/29/2019: Substitution of Attorney - Substitution of Attorney

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

11/6/2019: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Michael J. Kent

11/6/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Michael J. Kent

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

8/7/2019: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

Proof of Personal Service

7/9/2018: Proof of Personal Service

Civil Case Cover Sheet

5/15/2018: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint

5/15/2018: Complaint

Summons - on Complaint

5/15/2018: Summons - on Complaint

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/08/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Reclassify: Filed By: David Wang (Plaintiff); Result: Granted; Result Date: 09/08/2020

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  • 09/08/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Foot Locker Reail, INC (Defendant)

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  • 09/08/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

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  • 09/08/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 09/08/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 09/08/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 09/08/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/18/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 09/08/2020; Result Type to Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 04/06/2020
  • DocketReply to Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Reclassification; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/06/2020
  • DocketNotice of Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/30/2020
  • DocketOpposition TO MOTION; Filed by: Foot Locker Reail, INC (Defendant)

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  • 03/24/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 03/24/2020
  • DocketThere being no judge available this date, Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 04/13/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 09/08/2020 10:30 AM

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16 More Docket Entries
  • 08/07/2019
  • DocketDeclaration Declaration of Michael Kent in Support of Motion to Reclassify; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/07/2019
  • DocketMotion to Reclassify; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/09/2018
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff); As to: Foot Locker Reail, INC (Defendant); Service Date: 01/01/2018; Service Cost: 70.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff); As to: Foot Locker Reail, INC (Defendant); Foot Locker, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: David Wang (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Georgina T. Rizk in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 11/12/2019 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/15/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause - Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/18/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC07087    Hearing Date: April 20, 2021    Dept: 31

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT IS GRANTED.Background

On May 15, 2018, Plaintiff David Wang filed the instant action against Defendants Foot Locker Retail, Inc. (hereinafter “Defendant”); Foot Locker, Inc.; and Does 1 through 10. The Complaint asserts causes of action for:

(1) Disability Discrimination in Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act; and

(2) Race/National Origin Discrimination in Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

On February 25, 2021, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary adjudication of the second cause of action.

Plaintiff now moves for leave to amend his Complaint to make clear that he is asserting causes of action for (1) Failure to Accommodate and (2) Failure to Engage in a Good Faith Interactive Process.

Legal Standard

The court may, in furtherance of justice and on any proper terms, allow a party to amend any pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (a)(1); Branick v. Downey Savings & Loan Association (2006) 39 Cal.4th 235, 242.) The court may also, in its discretion and after notice to the adverse party, allow, upon any terms as may be just, an amendment to any pleading or proceeding in other particulars; and may upon like terms allow an answer to be made after the time limited by this code. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (a); Branick, supra, 39 Cal.4th at 242.) “This discretion should be exercised liberally in favor of amendments, for judicial policy favors resolution of all disputed matters in the same lawsuit.” (Kittredge Sports Co. v. Superior Court (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1045, 1047.) Leave to amend is thus liberally granted, provided there is no statute of limitations concern. (Kolani v. Gluska (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 402, 411.) The court may deny the plaintiff’s leave to amend if there is prejudice to the opposing party, such as delay in trial, loss of critical evidence, or added costs of preparation. (Id.)

Under California Rules of Court, rule 3.1324, a motion to amend a pleading before trial must (1) include a copy of the proposed amendment or amended pleading, which must be serially numbered to differentiate it from previous pleadings or amendments; (2) state what allegations in the previous pleading are proposed to be deleted, if any, and where, by page, paragraph and line number, the deleted allegations are located; and (3) state what allegations are proposed to be added to the previous pleading, if any, and where, by page, paragraph, and line number, the additional allegations are located. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1324(a).) A separate supporting declaration specifying (1) the effect of the amendment; (2) why the amendment is necessary and proper; (3) when the facts giving rise to the amended allegations were discovered; and (4) the reason why the request for amendment was not made earlier must accompany the motion. (Id., rule 3.1324(b).)

Discussion

Plaintiff seeks to add two causes of action for (1) Failure to Accommodate and (2) Failure to Engage in a Good Faith Interactive Process and the supporting allegations and remove the cause of action for Race Discrimination that was previously adjudicated by the Court on February 25, 2021. Plaintiff argues that prior counsel drafted and originally filed Plaintiff’s Complaint on May 15, 2018. (Kent Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff asserts that it was not until over a year, on August 5, 2019, that Plaintiff sought and retained new counsel, current counsel of record. (Kent Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff contends that a soon as he retained current counsel of record, Plaintiff’s counsel took appropriate procedural steps to rectify the misclassified pleading and remand the action back to state court. (Kent Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff argues that due to Covid-19 and other calendaring issues with the Court, this action was not properly classified until September 11, 2020. (Kent Decl. ¶ 3.)

Plaintiff asserts that following the notice of reassignment/reclassification, Defendant agreed to respond to discovery. (Kent Decl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff contends that his discovery specifically asked about accommodations and failure to engage in the interactive process. (Kent Decl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff argues that on December 3, 2020, Defendant responded to discovery. (Kent Decl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff asserts that on January 4, 2021, Plaintiff met and conferred regarding inadequate discovery responses and in response, on January 11, 2021, Defendant raised for the first time its objection to Plaintiff’s complaint including failure to accommodate and failure to engage in interactive process claims. (Kent Decl. ¶ 4-5.)

Plaintiff contends that on January 13, 2021, Plaintiff responded to Defendant, indicating the facts and allegations in the Complaint put Defendant on notice that the Complaint includes causes of action for (1) failure to accommodate and (2) failure to engage in interactive process, but in order to clear up any pleading issues, Plaintiff would be willing to amend the complaint if Defendant stipulated. (Kent Decl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff argues that he requested the Defendant respond by January 15, 2021 but Defendant was silent as to whether it would stipulate. (Kent Decl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff asserts that on January 19, 2021, Plaintiff again requested confirmation as to whether Defendant would be willing to stipulate and Defendant did not respond. (Kent Decl. ¶ 6.)

Plaintiff contends that the instant motion is timely, proper, and necessary. Plaintiff argues that the need to amend the Complaint is clear – the facts give rise to two causes of action that were not specifically identified as causes of action in the operative complaint. (Kent Decl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff asserts that he has the right to assert all of his causes of action based upon these facts. Plaintiff contends that he will be prejudiced if he is not allowed to have his relevant causes of action heard. Plaintiff argues that the amendment will only add causes of action based upon the general facts.

Plaintiff asserts that additionally, Defendant will not be prejudiced as there are no substantial facts being modified. Plaintiff contends that the causes of action are based upon the same set of general facts previously pled. Plaintiff argues that moreover, Plaintiff has clearly been conducting discovery relating to the proposed causes of action. Plaintiff asserts that trial in this action is not until March 22, 2022, and therefore Defendant will have ample time to prepare a defense.

Defendant filed a Notice of Non-Opposition on April 7, 2021.

The Court finds that Defendant will not be prejudiced by the proposed amendment. The proposed causes of action are based on the same facts alleged in the original complaint, no additional discovery will be needed, and trial in this matter is a little less than a year away.

The Court further finds that Plaintiff’s motion substantially complies with the requirements of California Rules of Court Rule 3.1324 and there exists good cause for allowing the amendment.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s unopposed motion for leave to amend is GRANTED.

Conclusion

Plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to file the First Amended Complaint within ten (10) days of this Order.

Moving party to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.

Case Number: 18STLC07087    Hearing Date: February 25, 2021    Dept: 31

MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION OF SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION IS GRANTED

Background

On May 15, 2018, Plaintiff David Wang filed the instant action against Defendants Foot Locker Retail, Inc.; Foot Locker, Inc.; and Does 1 through 10. The Complaint asserts causes of action for:

  1. Disability Discrimination in Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act; and

  2. Race/National Origin Discrimination in Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Defendant Foot Locker Retail, Inc. (hereinafter “Defendant”) now moves for summary adjudication of the second cause of action for race/national origin discrimination in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Legal Standard

In reviewing a motion for summary judgment or adjudication, courts must apply a three-step analysis: “(1) identify the issues framed by the pleadings; (2) determine whether the moving party has negated the opponent’s claims; and (3) determine whether the opposition has demonstrated the existence of a triable, material factual issue.” (Hinesley v. Oakshade Town Center (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 289, 294.) 

“A party may move for summary adjudication as to one or more causes of action within an action, one or more affirmative defenses, one or more claims for damages, or one or more issues of duty, if that party contends that the cause of action has no merit or that there is no affirmative defense thereto, or that there is no merit to an affirmative defense as to any cause of action, or both, or that there is no merit to a claim for damages . . . or that one or more defendants either owed or did not owe a duty to the plaintiff or plaintiffs. A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.” (Code of Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).)  A motion for summary adjudication shall proceed in all procedural respects as a motion for summary judgment. (Code of Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(2).)   

“[T]he initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facia showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action.” (Code of Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) A moving defendant need not conclusively negate an element of plaintiff’s cause of action. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 854.) 

To meet this burden of showing a cause of action cannot be established, a defendant must show not only “that the plaintiff does not possess needed evidence” but also that “the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence.” (Aguilarsupra, 25 Cal.4th at 854.) It is insufficient for the defendant to merely point out the absence of evidence. (Gaggero v. Yura (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 884, 891.) The defendant “must also produce evidence that the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain evidence to support his or her claim.” (Ibid.)¿The supporting evidence can be in the form of affidavits, declarations, admissions, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and matters of which judicial notice may be taken. (Aguilarsupra, 25 Cal.4th at 855.) 

“Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Code of Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) The plaintiff may not merely rely on allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material fact exists, but instead, “shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the cause of action.” (Ibid.) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

Discussion

Summary Judgment/Adjudication in Employment Cases

“[A] case [of discrimination] may be built on direct or circumstantial evidence, or both. [Citations.] “‘Direct evidence is evidence which, if believed, proves the fact [of discriminatory animus] without inference or presumption.’” [Citation.] Where a plaintiff offers direct evidence of discrimination that is believed by the trier of fact, the defendant can avoid liability only by proving the plaintiff would have been subjected to the same employment decision without reference to the unlawful factor. ([Citations]; see, Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Thurston (1985) 469 U.S. 111, 121, 105 S.Ct. 613, 621–22, 83 L.Ed.2d 523 [direct evidence of discrimination renders shifting burdens of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green (1973) 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 inapplicable].) Since plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases most often lack direct evidence of the employer's discriminatory intent, however, courts rely on a system of shifting burdens to aid the presentation and resolution of such claims. [Citations.]” (Morgan v. Regents of University of Cal. (2000) 88 Cal.App.4th 52, 67–68.)

When deciding issues of adverse employment actions, such as retaliation, discrimination, and wrongful termination, the court applies the McDonnell Douglas shifting burdens test. (Caldwell v. Paramount Unified School Dist. (1995) 41 Cal.App.4th 189, 203; Loggins v. Kaiser Permanente Intern. (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 1102, 1108–09.) “Under the three-part test developed in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, supra, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668: “(1) The complainant must establish a prima facie case of discrimination; (2) the employer must offer a legitimate reason for his actions; (3) the complainant must prove that this reason was a pretext to mask an illegal motive.” [Citation.]” (Morgan, supra, 88 Cal.App.4th at 68.)

Under this test, “if the employer presents admissible evidence either that one or more of plaintiff's prima facie elements is lacking, or that the adverse employment action was based on legitimate, nondiscriminatory factors, the employer will be entitled to summary judgment unless the plaintiff produces admissible evidence which raises a triable issue of fact material to the defendant's showing.” (Caldwell, supra at 203.) Therefore, the initial burden rests with the Defendant. “Once the employer makes a sufficient showing of a legitimate reason for discharge, i.e., that it had a lawful, nondiscriminatory reason for the termination then the discharged employee seeking to avert summary judgment must demonstrate either (by additional facts or legal argument) that the defendant's showing was in fact insufficient or (by competent evidentiary materials) that there was a triable issue of fact material to the defendant's showing. With respect to the latter choice, the employee must produce substantial responsive evidence that the employer's showing was untrue or pretextual. For this purpose, speculation cannot be regarded as substantial responsive evidence.” (Hanson v. Lucky Stores, Inc. (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 215, 225.)

“[T]he great weight of federal and California authority holds that an employer is entitled to summary judgment if, considering the employer's innocent explanation for its actions, the evidence as a whole is insufficient to permit a rational inference that the employer's actual motive was discriminatory.” (Guz v. Bechtel Nat. Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 317, 361.) “It is the employer's honest belief in the stated reasons for firing an employee and not the objective truth or falsity of the underlying facts that is at issue in a discrimination case.” (King v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 426, 436.)

Second Cause of Action for Race/National Origin Discrimination in Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act

To establish a claim for discrimination in violation of FEHA, the plaintiff must generally prove that (1) he or she was a member of a protected class; (2) that he or she was qualified for the position he or she sought or was performing competently in the position he or she held; (3) that he or she suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination, demotion, or denial of an available job; and (4) some other circumstance suggesting discriminatory motive. (See Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 317, 355.)

Defendant moves for summary adjudication of the second cause of action for race/national original discrimination arguing that Plaintiff cannot establish a prima facie case of race discrimination as Plaintiff cannot establish that a discriminatory nexus exists between his race and the alleged adverse employment actions. Defendant asserts that Plaintiff has no evidence to establish his race played any role in the decision to terminate his employment.

Defendant presents the following evidence: On or about February 28, 2011, Foot Locker hired Plaintiff for the position of full time Management Trainee. (Undisputed Material Fact (“UMF”) 1.) On or about November 12, 2016, Plaintiff gave Foot Locker a doctor’s note stating that he needed to be on leave until December 30, 2016, which Defendant approved. (UMF 2.) On or about December 27, 2016, Plaintiff gave Defendant a doctor’s note to extend his leave request to March 15, 2017, which Defendant approved. (UMF 4.) On or about March 7, 2017, Plaintiff gave Defendant another doctor’s note extending his leave request to May 8, 2017, which Defendant approved. (UMF 5.) Defendant had a written policy that prohibited discrimination based upon race. (UMF 6.) Plaintiff never reported to Kenneth Barr that he felt like he was being discriminated against because of his race. (UMF 7.) Plaintiff’s leave was not extended past May 8, 2017, because his absence had created a hardship for the store where he was employed. (UMF 8.)

Defendant contends that based on the foregoing, Plaintiff cannot establish that his race played any role in the decision to terminate his employment.

Plaintiff has filed a Notice of Non-Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Adjudication of the Second Cause of Action for Discrimination Based upon Race.

The Court finds that Defendant has carried its burden establishing that there are no triable issues of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Defendant has provided evidence sufficient to establish that Plaintiff cannot establish his prima facie case for discrimination based on race because Plaintiff does not have evidence of discriminatory animus. Because Plaintiff has filed a notice of non-opposition, Plaintiff has failed to create a triable issue of material fact as to the element of discriminatory animus.

Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s unopposed motion for summary adjudication of the second cause of action is GRANTED.

Conclusion

Defendant’s unopposed motion for summary adjudication of the second cause of action is GRANTED.

At the hearing on this motion, the Court will set a trial date and the parties should be prepared to discuss same.

Defendant to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.

Case Number: 18STLC07087    Hearing Date: September 08, 2020    Dept: 26

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff David Wang’s Motion to Reclassify Action as Unlimited is DENIED. DEFENDANT FOOT LOCKER RETAIL, INC. IS TO FILE A RESPONSIVE PLEADING WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

On May 15, 2018, Plaintiff David Wang (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Foot Locker Retail, Inc. (“Defendant Foot Locker Retail”) and Foot Locker, Inc. for discrimination on the basis of disability and race/national origin. Proof of personal service was filed on July 9, 2018 demonstrating service of the Summons and Complaint on Defendant Foot Locker Retail on June 1, 2018.

On August 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reclassify the Action to a Court of Unlimited Jurisdiction. On August 27, 2019, Defendant Foot Locker Retail removed the action to federal court and the hearing dates were vacated; the case was remanded on October 28, 2019. On November 6, 2019, Plaintiff again filed a Motion to Reclassify, then filed an Amended Motion to Reclassify on March 3, 2020. Defendant Foot Locker Retail filed an opposition on March 30, 2020 and Plaintiff replied on April 6, 2020.

Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (CCP § 403.040(a).) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (CCP § 403.040(b).) In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

Discussion

The initial time for Plaintiff to amend the pleadings does not appear to have passed because there is no responsive pleading on file for either Defendant. Plaintiff, therefore, only needs to show that this case is incorrectly classified. Plaintiff’s evidence of the amount in controversy, however, is insufficient. Plaintiff relies solely on the declaration of counsel, Michael J. Kent. (Motion, Kent Decl.) Kent states without supporting evidence that at the time of his termination from employment Plaintiff was earning “a substantial income from Defendants in the high six figures, if not low seven figures” and has lost income “well above $100,000.00.” (Id. at ¶3.) No explanation is provided for how this apparently hearsay information is within Kent’s personal knowledge. (Id. at ¶¶1-3.) The declaration contains only a bare statement of personal knowledge regarding the facts in the declaration. (Id. at ¶1.) “Where the facts stated do not themselves show it, such bare statement of the affiant has no redeeming value and should be ignored.” (Snider v.

Snider (1962) 200 Cal.App.2d 741, 754.) The Motion attaches no declaration from Plaintiff, nor does it attach any documentary evidence of Plaintiff’s income at the time of termination, amount of lost income, or other damages.

Regarding the statement in Defendant Foot Locker Retail’s Notice of Removal to Federal Court that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00, no evidence submitted in support of that claim either. (Motion, Kent Decl., Exh. 2.) Furthermore, the Notice of Removal relied solely on Plaintiff’s contention in the Motion to Reclassify. (Id. at ¶¶24-25.)

Therefore, no the competent evidence demonstrates the probability that Plaintiff’s damages will exceed the jurisdictional limit of this Court.

Conclusion

Plaintiff David Wang’s Motion to Reclassify Action is DENIED.

Moving party to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC07087    Hearing Date: September 03, 2020    Dept: 26

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff David Wang’s Motion to Reclassify Action as Unlimited is DENIED. DEFENDANT FOOT LOCKER RETAIL, INC. IS TO FILE A RESPONSIVE PLEADING WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

On May 15, 2018, Plaintiff David Wang (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Foot Locker Retail, Inc. (“Defendant Foot Locker Retail”) and Foot Locker, Inc. for discrimination on the basis of disability and race/national origin. Proof of personal service was filed on July 9, 2018 demonstrating service of the Summons and Complaint on Defendant Foot Locker Retail on June 1, 2018.

On August 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reclassify the Action to a Court of Unlimited Jurisdiction. On August 27, 2019, Defendant Foot Locker Retail removed the action to federal court and the hearing dates were vacated; the case was remanded on October 28, 2019. On November 6, 2019, Plaintiff again filed a Motion to Reclassify, then filed an Amended Motion to Reclassify on March 3, 2020. Defendant Foot Locker Retail filed an opposition on March 30, 2020 and Plaintiff replied on April 6, 2020.

Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (CCP § 403.040(a).) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (CCP § 403.040(b).) In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

Discussion

The initial time for Plaintiff to amend the pleadings does not appear to have passed because there is no responsive pleading on file for either Defendant. Plaintiff, therefore, only needs to show that this case is incorrectly classified. Plaintiff’s evidence of the amount in controversy, however, is insufficient. Plaintiff relies solely on the declaration of counsel, Michael J. Kent. (Motion, Kent Decl.) Kent states without supporting evidence that at the time of his termination from employment Plaintiff was earning “a substantial income from Defendants in the high six figures, if not low seven figures” and has lost income “well above $100,000.00.” (Id. at ¶3.) No explanation is provided for how this apparently hearsay information is within Kent’s personal knowledge. (Id. at ¶¶1-3.) The declaration contains only a bare statement of personal knowledge regarding the facts in the declaration. (Id. at ¶1.) “Where the facts stated do not themselves show it, such bare statement of the affiant has no redeeming value and should be ignored.” (Snider v.

Snider (1962) 200 Cal.App.2d 741, 754.) The Motion attaches no declaration from Plaintiff, nor does it attach any documentary evidence of Plaintiff’s income at the time of termination, amount of lost income, or other damages.

Regarding the statement in Defendant Foot Locker Retail’s Notice of Removal to Federal Court that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00, no evidence submitted in support of that claim either. (Motion, Kent Decl., Exh. 2.) Furthermore, the Notice of Removal relied solely on Plaintiff’s contention in the Motion to Reclassify. (Id. at ¶¶24-25.)

Therefore, no the competent evidence demonstrates the probability that Plaintiff’s damages will exceed the jurisdictional limit of this Court.

Conclusion

Plaintiff David Wang’s Motion to Reclassify Action is DENIED.

Moving party to give notice.

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