On 04/04/2016 NICOLE SANDERS filed a Labor - Wrongful Termination lawsuit against L A COUNTY PROBATION DEPARTMENT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ERNEST HIROSHIGE and ANTHONY MOHR. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
LOS ANGELES COUNTY PROBATION DEPARTMENT
LAW OFFICE OF JOHN WILLY C. OSUJI THE
OSUJI JOHNWILLY CHINEDUM
LAW OFFICES OF HAUSMAN & SOSA
HAUSMAN JEFFREY MARK
HAUSMAN JEFFREY M. ESQ.
6/15/2018: PLAINTIFF REQUEST FOR A CONTINUANCE ON THE JUNE 15, 2018 NOTICED HEARING ON THE MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDING PENDING DETERMINATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING
6/15/2018: Minute Order
1/7/2019: Minute Order
7/11/2016: SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF LISA GRIGG IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STAY ACTION
8/3/2016: SECOND SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF LISA A. GRIGG IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STAY ACTION
8/24/2016: PLAINTIFF'S NON OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF
9/15/2016: Minute Order
2/6/2017: NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
2/14/2017: Minute Order
2/16/2017: NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
6/13/2017: Minute Order
12/15/2017: Minute Order
at 10:30 AM in Department 96, Anthony Mohr, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (to the Second Amended Complaint) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 10:30 AM in Department 96, Anthony Mohr, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department 96, Anthony Mohr, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Rescheduled by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department 96, Anthony Mohr, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (to the Second Amended Complaint) - Not Held - Rescheduled by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Complaint (2nd); Filed by Nicole Sanders (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Amended Complaint (SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT); Filed by Nicole Sanders (Plaintiff); Nicole Sanders (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 11:41 AM in Department 96, Anthony Mohr, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Reply (In Support of Demurrer to Second Amended Complaint); Filed by Los Angeles County Probation Department (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Proof-Service/SummonsRead MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
ORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER (SUPERIOR COURT)Read MoreRead Less
Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Request to Waive Court Fees; Filed by Nicole Sanders (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Nicole Sanders (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. VIOLATION OF CFRA- INTERFERENCE AND DENIAL; ETCRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Motion; Filed by Defendant/RespondentRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC615807 Hearing Date: April 6, 2021 Dept: 54
Superior Court of California
County of Los Angeles
County of Los Angeles,
Hearing Date: April 6, 2021
Department 54, Judge Maurice A. Leiter
Motion to Tax Costs
Moving Party: Plaintiff Nicole Sanders
Responding Party: Defendant County of Los Angeles
T/R: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO TAX COSTS IS GRANTED. DEFENDANT’S MEMORANDUM OF COSTS IS STRICKEN.
PLAINTIFF TO NOTICE.
The Court considers the moving papers and opposition.
On March 21, 2019, Plaintiff Nicole Sanders (“Plaintiff”) filed the operative second amended complaint against Defendant County of Los Angeles (“County” or “Defendant”), asserting causes of action for (1) violation of CFRA; (2) disability discrimination in violation of FEHA; (3) disability harassment in violation of FEHA; (4) failure to accommodate; (5) failure to engage in the interactive process; (6) failure to prevent discrimination and harassment; (7) discriminatory failure to promote; and (8) retaliation. On December 16, 2020, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
“Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding.” (CCP § 1032(b).) “Allowable costs shall be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation.” (CCP § 1033.5(c)(2).) “If the items appearing in a cost bill appear to be proper charges, the burden is on the party seeking to tax costs to show that they were not reasonable or necessary.” (Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn. (1993) 19 Cal. App. 4th 761, 774.) “On the other hand, if the items are properly objected to, they are put in issue and the burden of proof is on the party claiming them as costs.” (Ibid.) “A prevailing party who claims costs must serve and file a memorandum of costs within 15 days after the date of service of the notice of entry of judgment or dismissal by the clerk under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5 or the date of service of written notice of entry of judgment or dismissal, or within 180 days after entry of judgment, whichever is first.” (CRC Rule 3.1700(a)(1).) “…the court may extend the times for serving and filing the cost memorandum or the notice of motion to strike or tax costs for a period not to exceed 30 days.”
Plaintiff moves to tax Defendant’s memorandum of costs, which consists of $1,255.00 in filing and motion fees. Plaintiff asserts, without authority, that Defendant cannot recover costs because Plaintiff had a fee waiver.
In opposition, Defendant contends it can recover its costs as a prevailing party under CCP § 1032. CCP § 1032 provides a prevailing party shall recover their costs, except otherwise provided by statute. Gov. Code § 12965(b) provides, “…a prevailing defendant shall not be awarded fees and costs unless the court finds the action was frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless when brought, or the plaintiff continued to litigate after it clearly became so.”
Defendant does not argue that Plaintiff’s action was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless. Nor does the Court find Plaintiff’s action was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless. This statute is mandatory: the Court “shall not” award costs if this showing is not made. The Court cannot award Defendant costs.
The motion to tax costs is GRANTED. Defendant’s memorandum of costs is STRICKEN in its entirety.
Case Number: BC615807 Hearing Date: August 13, 2020 Dept: 96
The Court considers the moving papers, opposition and reply.
On March 21, 2019, Plaintiff Nicole Sanders (“Plaintiff”) filed the operative second amended complaint against Defendant County of Los Angeles (“County” or “Defendant”), asserting causes of action for (1) violation of CFRA; (2) disability discrimination in violation of FEHA; (3) disability harassment in violation of FEHA; (4) failure to accommodate; (5) failure to engage in the interactive process; (6) failure to prevent discrimination and harassment; (7) discriminatory failure to promote; and (8) retaliation.
“The purpose of the law of summary judgment is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties' pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) Trial judges are required “to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no
triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119.)
As to each claim as framed by the complaint, the defendant moving for summary judgment must satisfy the initial burden of proof by presenting facts to negate an essential element, or to establish a defense. (CCP § 437c(p)(2).) 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 that cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Id.) To establish a triable issue of material fact, the party opposing the motion must produce “substantial responsive evidence.” (Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151, 166.) Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.” (Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)
Defendant moves for summary judgment on several grounds, including that all issues were previously litigated in the Civil Service Commission’s review of Plaintiff’s termination and are thus now barred. Defendant asserts that the Commission’s decision, and subsequent superior court decision on the writ of mandate, have res judicata effect on Plaintiff’s causes of action.
“Res judicata applies if (1) the decision in the prior proceeding is final and on the merits; (2) the present proceeding is on the same cause of action as the prior proceeding; and (3) the parties in the present proceeding or parties in privity with them were parties to the prior proceeding.” (Fed'n of Hillside & Canyon Associations v. City of Los Angeles (2004) 126 Cal.App.4th 1180, 1202.)
When applying res judicata, “the key issue is whether the same cause of action is involved in both suits. California law approaches the issue by focusing on the ‘primary right’ at stake: if two actions involve the same injury to the plaintiff and the same wrong by the defendant then the same primary right is at stake even if in the second suit the plaintiff pleads different theories of recovery, seeks different forms of relief and/or adds new facts supporting recovery.” (Deleon v. Verizon Wireless (2008) 88 Cal.Rptr.3d 29, 35. (emphasis in original.)) “As far as its content is concerned, the primary right is simply the plaintiff's right to be free from the particular injury suffered…” (Villacres v. ABM Indus. Inc. (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 562, 575–76.)
As noted above, Defendant contends that the causes of action in the SAC were already litigated and decided in a hearing before the Civil Service Commission (the “Commission”) which was subsequently upheld via writ of mandate on August 2, 2018. Per the judgment in the writ of mandate, the Commission determined that Plaintiff’s discharge was proper based on Plaintiff’s false statements, failure to notify Defendant of outside employment, outside employment that conflicted with the County employment and dishonesty in her medical certification.
Defendant argues that the action before the Commission involves the same primary right as the above-mentioned causes of action. Specifically, Defendant asserts that they both involve the issue whether Plaintiff was wrongfully terminated and as the
Commission, and subsequent Court decision, upheld Plaintiff’s termination, Plaintiff is barred from relitigating her termination.
It is clear from both the moving papers and the opposition, that the parties do not have a clear understanding of the differences between res judicata, also known as claim preclusion, and collateral estoppel, also known as issue preclusion. The two are distinct doctrines. Res judicata precludes a party from relitigating of a cause of action, whereas collateral estoppel precludes a party from relitigating an issue. (See e.g. George v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd. (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 1475, 1482-6.) As noted above, res judicata requires a determination of whether the same “primary right” is involved in the two actions. Collateral estoppel does not require this determination, but only whether the same issue was previously litigated and decided. Put another way,
“the primary right involved determines the scope of the cause of action, which bears on whether claim preclusion is proper. [Citation.] However, the scope of the cause of action in a prior proceeding has no bearing on whether a party should be allowed to relitigate an issue.” (Castillo v. City of Los Angeles (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 477, 486.)
In the employment context, Courts have held that a civil service proceeding and a FEHA action seek redress for different primary rights. More specifically, “the primary right protected by the state civil service system is the right to continued employment, while the primary right protected by FEHA is the right to be free from invidious discrimination and from retaliation for opposing discrimination.” (George, supra 179 Cal.App.4th at 1483.) The same primary right may be involved in both a civil service proceeding and FEHA action if the employee seeks redress for the same events, i.e. wrongful termination, and makes the same arguments, i.e. discrimination, in both proceedings. (See e.g. Takahashi v. Board of Education (1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 1464.)
Here, it appears the Commission’s decision was limited to whether or not Plaintiff’s discharge was proper and based on Plaintiff’s misconduct. There is no indication that the Commission determined if Plaintiff experienced disability or racial discrimination, nor is there any discussion of the additional alleged adverse employment actions, such as the failure to promote, the change in job duties after CFRA leave, or the failure to accommodate her disability.
As the Commission’s decision was based on a relatively narrow issue of Plaintiff’s termination, it is not clear that res judicata is implicated. To the extent that Plaintiff’s causes of action are dependent on her discharge, rather than other adverse actions, they may be barred by collateral estoppel. (See George, supra 179 Cal.App.4th at 1486 [“When the issue previously decided is a required element of the FEHA cause of action, the prior adjudication may have a preclusive effect on the claim, even if the entire claim is not barred, resulting in a dismissal of the FEHA action.”] See also Castillo, supra 92 Cal.App.4th at 486-7.) Defendant, however, has failed to provide adequate analysis on collateral estoppel. Defendant merely argues that the Commission’s decision, and subsequent writ, involve the same primary right. This may not be the case, as discussed above.
As there are not materially disputed facts regarding what the Civil Service Commission actually adjudicated, the Court is inclined to allow further briefing on whether the Commission’s decision has res judicata and/or collateral estoppel effect.
The lack of disputed facts eliminates the need for a fact finder and the issue is merely one of law. Thus, the Court would prefer to adjudicate it on summary judgment rather than at trial.
Defendant’s motion is CONTINUED to November 6, 2020 at 2:00pm.