This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/03/2022 at 10:28:30 (UTC).

KAROLAN PALACIOS VS THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 05/08/2020 KAROLAN PALACIOS filed a Labor - Wrongful Termination lawsuit against THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are CURTIS A. KIN and RUTH ANN KWAN. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******7731

  • Filing Date:

    05/08/2020

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Wrongful Termination

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

CURTIS A. KIN

RUTH ANN KWAN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PALACIOS KAROLAN

Defendants

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

RONALD REAGAN UCLA MEDICAL CENTER

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES

GUTIERREZ ALVIN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

PRAINITO TAYLOR M.

PRAINITO TAYLOR MARIE

Defendant Attorneys

ROBERTS REGINALD

ROBERTS REGINALD JR

 

Court Documents

Judgment - JUDGMENT [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT

10/7/2021: Judgment - JUDGMENT [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT

Notice of Entry of Judgment / Dismissal / Other Order

10/7/2021: Notice of Entry of Judgment / Dismissal / Other Order

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

10/12/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 10/12/2021

10/12/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 10/12/2021

Order - Dismissal

11/15/2021: Order - Dismissal

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (STATUS CONFERENCE) OF 11/15/2021

11/15/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (STATUS CONFERENCE) OF 11/15/2021

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)

11/15/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

6/7/2021: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

6/14/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

Memorandum - MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDUCATION

6/24/2021: Memorandum - MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDUCATION

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF FELTON T. NEWELL IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

6/24/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF FELTON T. NEWELL IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Declaration - DECLARATION OF KRISTELLE D. KAWECKI IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

6/24/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION OF KRISTELLE D. KAWECKI IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Separate Statement - SEPARATE STATEMENT DEFENDANTS SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

6/24/2021: Separate Statement - SEPARATE STATEMENT DEFENDANTS SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION ADVANCING THE HEARING DATE FOR ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

6/24/2021: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION ADVANCING THE HEARING DATE FOR ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE HEARING DATE OF MSJ

6/24/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE HEARING DATE OF MSJ

Notice of Motion - NOTICE OF MOTION DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

6/24/2021: Notice of Motion - NOTICE OF MOTION DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION ADVANCING THE HEARING DATE FO...)

6/25/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION ADVANCING THE HEARING DATE FO...)

Proof of Personal Service

6/25/2021: Proof of Personal Service

33 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/15/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 72, Curtis A. Kin, Presiding; Status Conference - Held

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  • 11/15/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/15/2021
  • DocketOrder - Dismissal; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/15/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Status Conference) of 11/15/2021); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/12/2021
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 72, Curtis A. Kin, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 10/12/2021
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 72, Curtis A. Kin, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review

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  • 10/12/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ((Non-Appearance Case Review)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/12/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Non-Appearance Case Review) of 10/12/2021); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/07/2021
  • DocketNotice of Entry of Judgment / Dismissal / Other Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/07/2021
  • DocketJUDGMENT; Filed by The Regents of the University of California (Defendant)

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35 More Docket Entries
  • 07/22/2020
  • DocketAmended Complaint ( (1st)); Filed by Karolan Palacios (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2020
  • DocketNotice (NOTICE OF CHANGE IN LEAD ATTORNEY WITHIN LAW FIRM); Filed by THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (Defendant); RONALD REAGAN UCLA MEDICAL CENTER (Defendant); UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES (Defendant) et al.

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  • 06/10/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (of Demurring or Moving Party in Support of Automatic Extension); Filed by UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES (Defendant)

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  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/21/2020
  • DocketProof of Service (Sister State Judgment); Filed by Karolan Palacios (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/11/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Karolan Palacios (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Karolan Palacios (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Karolan Palacios (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******7731 Hearing Date: September 9, 2021 Dept: 72

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Date: 9/9/21 (10:00 AM)

Case: Palacios v. The Regents of the University of California et al. (*******7731)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant The Regents of the University of California’s Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, for Summary Adjudication is GRANTED.

A. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION – MEDICAL CONDITION/DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION (ISSUE NOS. 1 AND 2)

With respect to Issue No. 1, defendant The Regents of the University of California contends that plaintiff Karolan Palacios did not suffer an adverse employment action because she voluntarily resigned from her position. (UMF 30, 39.) However, plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue concerning whether she was forced to resign based on director Alvin Gutierrez’s letter communicating that her request for personal leave of absence was denied. (Resp. to UMF 30, 39.) Plaintiff’s resignation letter stated: “Due to my current circumstances I will NOT be able to return to work. The case is still ongoing for me and I refuse to put my children at stake for “Department Needs.” (Pl. Ex. 30.) Plaintiff had told her supervisor that her husband needed to go to rehab and that she could not leave her children with him because social services was involved. (PMF 27.) “Whether conditions were so intolerable as to justify a reasonable employee's decision to resign is normally a question of fact.” (Valdez v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1043, 1056.) Plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue concerning whether defendant forced her to resign because defendant was essentially asking her to risk losing custody of her children in favor of returning to work.

Defendant maintains that plaintiff had the option to speak to Gutierrez about leave. (UMF 28.) The April 15, 2019 letter Gutierrez sent to plaintiff stated: “[D]ue to operational reasons, we are unable to grant you this time off. As such, you are out on an unapproved, unauthorized leave of absence and need to contact me immediately regarding your status or return to work immediately. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action up to and including Dismissal . . . If you have any questions, please contact me at (310) 825-6929 or AGutierrez@mednet.ucla.edu.” (Pl. Ex. 28.) The direction to contact Gutierrez “immediately regarding [her] status” does not offer the possibility of reconsideration of the denial of leave or invite plaintiff to justify her leave of absence. A reasonable juror could read Gutierrez’s letter and determine that defendant had no intent to consider whether plaintiff was entitled to take a leave of absence.

Based on the foregoing, the motion as to Issue No. 1 is DENIED.

With respect to Issue No. 2, however, plaintiff fails to demonstrate a triable issue concerning the nexus between the adverse employment action and medical condition/disability. Plaintiff asserts that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and anxiety after becoming a victim of domestic violence in March 2019. (Resp. to UMF 12.) However, plaintiff fails to show that defendant potentially knew about these conditions. (UMF 21, 31, 34.) Plaintiff never mentioned the domestic violence incident to defendant. (UMF 16, 20, 26, 27, 31.) Plaintiff only points to her supervisor Angie Gonzalez’s observation that she looked “worried” and “down” (PMF 91.) Plaintiff does not provide any nonspeculative basis to impute knowledge of any PTSD, depression, or anxiety based on her supervisor’s observation that she was not her usual “happy-go-lucky” self. (King v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 426, 433-34 [“[P]laintiff's evidence must relate to the motivation of the decision makers to prove, by nonspeculative evidence, an actual causal link between prohibited motivation and termination”].) If defendant did not know about medical condition, then plaintiff cannot demonstrate that defendant discriminated against her on such basis.

Further, plaintiff does not demonstrate any connection between the alleged constructive discharge and any medical condition or disability. Defendant sufficiently asserts that plaintiff’s leave was denied because of staffing considerations. (UMF 28; Pl. Ex. 28.) Plaintiff attempts to attribute defendant’s denial of leave of absence to her medical condition or disability to her disclosure that her husband was in rehab and Child Services was involved. (Resp. to UMF 38; Palacios Decl. ¶ 50.) However, “plaintiff's subjective beliefs in an employment discrimination case do not create a genuine issue of fact; nor do uncorroborated and self-serving declarations.” (King, 152 Cal.App.4th at 433.) Plaintiff’s assertion that defendant was stereotyping her based on a protected class is merely speculative and insufficient to defeat summary adjudication. Plaintiff does not state any comments or conduct from defendant from which a reasonable juror could find any animus against individuals with PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Carol Pech’s statement that defendant “may be stuck” with plaintiff is neutral on its face and does not lead to any inference of discriminatory animus. (PMF 44.)

Plaintiff also argues that she may have an actionable claim based on her husband’s purported addiction to drugs. (PMF 66, 98.) Defendant provided sufficient notice of seeking summary adjudication based on associational disability discrimination because such discrimination is encompassed within the “discrimination on the basis of medical condition/disability” set forth in the text of Issue Nos. 1 and 2 in the notice of motion. In any event, plaintiff fails to demonstrate any pretext. Even if plaintiff mentioned that her husband was in rehab, plaintiff does not point to any comments or actions from defendant demonstrating any potential animus toward individuals with drug addictions.

The motion as to Issue No. 2 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the first cause of action for discrimination based on medical condition.

B. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION – RACE DISCRIMINATION (ISSUE NOS. 3 AND 4)

For the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 1, plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue regarding whether she suffered an adverse employment action. However, for the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 2, plaintiff fails to establish any potential connection between her purported constructive discharge and her race. (See UMF 44.) Plaintiff’s contention that she was stereotyped due to having a husband in rehab and dealing with Child Services is merely speculative and insufficient to defeat summary adjudication.

The motion as to Issue No. 3 is DENIED, but the motion as to Issue No. 4 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the second cause of action for discrimination based on race.

C. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION – MEDICAL CONDITION/DISABILITY HARASSMENT (ISSUE NO. 5)

Defendant contends that plaintiff’s allegations do not establish any actionable hostile, inappropriate, or severe and pervasive conduct which altered the terms of her employment. Defendant meets its burden on summary judgment by demonstrating that the denial of leave may be isolated and sporadic and therefore not severe and pervasive to alter the terms of plaintiff’s employment. (Beyda v. City of Los Angeles (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 511, 519; Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Prod. (2006) 38 Cal.4th 264, 279.) Plaintiff does not address the third cause of action in her opposition. Accordingly, plaintiff fails to show a triable issue concerning the third cause of action.

The motion as to Issue No. 5 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the third cause of action for harassment based on medical condition or disability.

D. FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION – GENDER DISCRIMINATION (ISSUE NOS. 6 AND 7)

For the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 1, plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue regarding whether she suffered an adverse employment action. However, for the reasons discussed in Issue No. 2, plaintiff fails to establish any potential connection between her purported constructive discharge and her gender. (See UMF 49.) Plaintiff’s contention that she was stereotyped due to having a husband in rehab and dealing with Child Services is merely speculative and insufficient to defeat summary adjudication.

The motion as to Issue No. 6 is DENIED, but the motion as to Issue No. 7 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the fourth cause of action for discrimination based on gender.

E. FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION – FAILURE TO PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION (ISSUE NOS. 8 AND 9)

For the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 1, plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue concerning whether she was constructively discharged, as opposed to resigning voluntarily. Accordingly, the motion as to Issue No. 9 is DENIED.

However, for the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 2, plaintiff fails to demonstrate that defendant had reason to know that she suffered from PTSD, depression, or anxiety. (Prilliman v. United Air Lines, Inc. (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 935, 950–51; CACI 2541(4) [under Government Code ;12940(m), defendants’ duty to accommodate is triggered by their awareness of plaintiff’s disability, not plaintiff’s request for an accommodation].)

The motion as to Issue No. 8 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the fifth cause of action for failure to provide reasonable accommodation.

F. SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION – FAILURE TO ENGAGE IN INTERACTIVE PROCESS (ISSUE NO. 10)

For the reasons stated with respect to Issue No. 2, plaintiff does not demonstrate a triable issue concerning whether defendant knew that she suffered from PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Plaintiff thus fails to show that defendant had a duty to engage in the interactive process. (Gelfo v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 34, 61 [“[A]n employer's duty to accommodate is inextricably linked to its obligation to engage in a timely, good faith discussion with an applicant or employee whom it knows is disabled, and who has requested an accommodation, to determine the extent of the individual's limitations, before an individual may be deemed unable to work”].)

The motion as to Issue No. 10 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the sixth cause of action for failure to engage in the interactive process.

G. SEVENTH CAUSE OF ACTION – RETALIATION FOR ENGAGING IN PROTECTED ACTIVITY (ISSUE NOS. 11-13)

With respect to Issue No. 12, for the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 1, plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue concerning whether she suffered an adverse employment action.

With respect to Issue No. 11, however, plaintiff fails to demonstrate any protected activity. Plaintiff does not demonstrate that she was entitled to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act. While plaintiff maintains that she needed leave to prevent Child Services from removing her children from her custody, lack of childcare generally does not entitle plaintiff to leave under the FMLA or CFRA. (29 U.S.C. ; 2612(1); Gov. Code ; 12945.2(a)(4), (a)(12).) Although leave to care for a child who has a serious health condition is allowable, plaintiff does not state that her children had any condition that required continuing treatment by a health care provider. (Ibid.)

Further, while Gov. Code ; 12940(m)(2) prohibits defendant from retaliating against plaintiff for requesting an accommodation based on disability, such a disability must be known to defendant. (Gov. Code ; 12940(m)(2) [unlawful employment practice includes employer retaliating “against a person for requesting accommodation under this subdivision, regardless of whether the request was granted]; ; 12940(m)(1) [unlawful employment practice to “fail to make reasonable accommodation for the known physical or mental disability of an applicant or employee”].) For the reason discussed with respect to Issue No. 2, plaintiff fails to demonstrate a triable issue concerning whether defendant knew of her purported disability.

Accordingly, even if plaintiff opposed her denial of leave, plaintiff’s retaliation cause of action is defeated by her failure to show that she was entitled to leave in the first instance.

With respect to Issue No. 13, absent plaintiff’s failure to demonstrate a triable issue concerning protected activity, plaintiff cannot establish a connection between an adverse employment action and protected activity.

The motion as to Issue No. 12 is DENIED, but the motion as to Issue Nos. 11 and 13 is GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the seventh cause of action for retaliation for engaging in protected activity.

H. NINTH CAUSE OF ACTION – VIOLATION OF LABOR CODE ; 230 (ISSUE NO. 14)

Labor Code ; 230(e) states: “An employer shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an employee because of the employee’s status as a victim of crime or abuse, if the employee provides notice to the employer of the status or the employer has actual knowledge of the status.” Plaintiff fails to show that defendant knew that she was a victim of domestic violence. (UMF 16, 20, 26, 27, 31.) Plaintiff’s references to her husband going to rehab and involvement of Child Services does not impart defendant with notice or actual knowledge that she was subject to a crime or abuse.

While plaintiff cites to Labor Code ; 230(c), this provision does not apply because plaintiff fails to show that she informed defendant that the reason for leave was to obtain or to attempt to obtain a “a temporary restraining order, restraining order, or other injunctive relief, to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the victim or their child.”

Accordingly, plaintiff cannot establish the elements of a Labor Code ; 230 claim.

The motion as to Issue No. 14 is GRANTED. Defendant is therefore entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the ninth cause of action for violation of Labor Code ; 230.

I. TENTH CAUSE OF ACTION – RETALIATION FOR TAKING FMLA/CFRA LEAVE (ISSUE NOS. 15-17)

With respect to Issue No. 16, for the reasons discussed with respect to Issue No. 1, plaintiff demonstrates a triable issue concerning whether she suffered an adverse employment action. The motion as to Issue No. 16 is therefore DENIED

However, for the reasons discussed with respect to Issue Nos. 11 and 13, the Court finds the motion as to Issue Nos. 15 and 17 should be GRANTED. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary adjudication in its favor as to the tenth cause of action for retaliation for taking FMLA/CFRA leave.

Because the Court finds that summary adjudication shall be GRANTED as to all causes of action against defendant, the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED. No later than five (5) days hereof, defendant The Regents of the University of California shall submit a proposed judgment in accordance herewith.


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