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Dopp v. Taylor's Crossing Public Charter School, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 9, 2015

ALAN D. DOPP, Plaintiff,
v.
TAYLOR'S CROSSING PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it Defendant Taylor's Crossing Public Charter School, Inc.'s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 14). The Court heard oral argument on the motion on May 18, 2015, and now issues the following decision.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Alan Dopp was employed for approximately four years by Defendant Taylor's Crossing Public Charter School, Inc. ("TCPCS") as a physical education teacher and administrator. Compl. ¶ 1; Def.'s Statement of Facts, ¶ 2, Dkt. 14-1. Dopp's employment was based upon contracts that he entered into each year, between 2007 and 2010. Id.

In 2010, Dopp signed two contracts for the 2010-2011 school year: a Category 3 Teacher's contract dated July 12, 2010, and an Idaho Administrator's Contract on August 11, 2010. Dopp Dep. 49:24-50:8, Dkt. 14-4. Prior to signing those contracts, Dopp and the rest of the faculty were informed that TCPCS was experiencing financial difficulties and that an across-the-board salary cut would be necessary. Dopp Dep. 72:4-72:8, Dkt. 14-4. TCPCS alleges that Dopp was also informed that as a consequence of TCPCS's financial situation, a reduction in force ("RIF") policy was necessary. Def.'s Statement of Facts, ¶ 3, Dkt. 14-1. According to TCPCS, the RIF policy gave the school board the authority to reduce the number of TCPCS employees if, among other reasons, TCPCS could not meet its financial obligations. Id. at ¶ 4. Dopp disputes that the particular RIF policy provided by TCPCS is the exact RIF policy in effect at the time his contract was not renewed, but he fails to provide the RIF policy that he alleges was in effect, or explain how that policy differs from the one proffered by TCPCS. Pl.'s Resp. at 8, Dkt. 19. Dopp does not dispute that a RIF policy was in place sometime between the time he signed his last contract and the time his contracts were not renewed. Dopp Dep. 100:5-100:11, Dkt. 14-4.

On July 6, 2011, Dopp received notice via certified mail that TCPCS would not be renewing his contracts for the 2011-2012 school year because TCPCS's "funding has been significantly reduced" by the State. See Pl.'s Resp. at 8, Dkt. 19; Def.'s Ex. 5, Dkt. 14-8.

In his Complaint, Dopp alleges generally that his contracts were not renewed because he is "older and male[, ]" not because of any RIF policy in place. Comp. ¶ 1. Dopp puts forth six claims: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) fraud; (4) retaliation pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h); (5) discrimination based on sex under Title VII; and (6) discrimination based on age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). TCPCS filed the present Motion for Partial Summary Judgment asking the Court to dismiss Dopp's retaliation claim and both discrimination claims. Def.'s Br. at 1-2, Dkt. 14-2. TCPCS also requests that the Court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Dopp's remaining state law claims. Id. at 2.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to any claim or defense, "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims...." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). It is "not a disfavored procedural shortcut, " but is instead the "principal tool[] by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be a genuine dispute as to any material fact-a fact "that may affect the outcome of the case." Id. at 248.

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact. Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001)(en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 532 (9th Cir.2000).

This shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor. Deveraux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and show "by her [] affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file" that a genuine dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.

However, the Court is "not required to comb through the record to find some reason to deny a motion for summary judgment." Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1029 (9th Cir. 2001) (quotation omitted). Instead, the "party opposing summary judgment must direct [the Court's] attention to specific triable ...


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