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Garza v. City of Yakima

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

June 2, 2014

GARY GARZA, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF YAKIMA, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

THOMAS O. RICE, District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 50). This matter was heard with telephonic oral argument on May 15, 2014. James E. Davis appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff. Mark D. Watson appeared on behalf of Defendant. The Court has reviewed the briefing and the record and files herein, and is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

This case concerns Plaintiff's allegations that his employer discriminated against him in violation of federal and state law, and breached promises of specific treatment contained in the employee handbook. Defendant moves for summary judgment on certain of Plaintiff's claims on grounds that some are time barred, that some are barred because they were not part of the tort claim filed with the city, and that others are barred because Plaintiff failed to timely file an EEOC claim describing the Title VII claims asserted.

FACTS[1]

Plaintiff Gary Garza is a police officer for the City of Yakima who alleges that he was subjected to repeated acts of workplace discrimination and retaliation for his participation in anti-discriminatory acts.

On April 4, 2012, Garza signed an EEOC Intake Questionnaire which was received by the EEOC on April 9, 2012. On May 14, 2012, he signed an EEOC Charge of Discrimination. In his EEOC complaint, he alleged multiple incidences of discrimination and retaliation, occurring over an extended period of time. On January 14, 2013, Garza filed a City of Yakima Tort Claim Form with the Yakima City Clerk. ECF No. 59 at 32.

Garza subsequently sued his employer, the City of Yakima, for unlawful discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. ECF No. 2 at 1. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff cites the actions of other employees of the City of Yakima, including Officer Ryan Wisner, Sergeant Jay Seely, Lieutenant Tom Foley, Captain Jeff Schneider, Lieutenant Mike Merryman, Lieutenant Gary Belles, Captain Greg Copeland, and former city manager Richard Zais. ECF No. 2 at 3. Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, that Captain Copeland has displayed animus toward Garza since Garza's participation in an arbitration proceeding that overturned a disciplinary action against him and a lawsuit involving nonpayment of overtime wages. ECF No. 2 at 4. Plaintiff also alleges that ever since his 2000 testimony at a hearing regarding racial profiling and race discrimination, he has been the subject of adverse treatment by superior officers at the Yakima Police Department.

Defendant here moves for partial summary judgment on some of Plaintiff's allegations. For the purposes of this motion, Defendant categorizes factual allegations as "claims" and labels them as follows:

Claim A: "Accusation of Lying Claim" against Copeland which occurred at least by 2008.
Claim B: "1999 Evaluation Claim" over a 2000 refusal by Copeland to remove a "needs improvement" comment from Garza's evaluation which was the subject of a grievance and resulting 2000 arbitration award.
Claim C: "Exclusion from 2001 and 2002 Narcotics Unit Claim" for Copeland purposely and intentionally excluding Garza from consideration for a Narcotics Unit position in 2001 and 2002.
Claim D: "2008 Narcotics Unit Claim" for Copeland purposely and intentionally attempting to exclude Garza from consideration for a Narcotics Unit position in 2008.
Claim E: "2008 Wrong Interview Scores Claim" for Copeland purposely and intentionally submitting wrong oral interview scores for Garza in 2008 for placement within the Narcotics Unit.
Claim F: "2011 Copeland Denial of Grievance Claim" for Copeland stating that he had every intent of denying a grievance filed by Garza in October 2011.
Claim G: "2004 School Resource Officer Position Claim" for Capt. Schneider, Lieut. Merryman and Lieut. Belles' scheming in 2004 to deny Garza appointment to that position.
Claim H: "2009 Overtime Limitation Claim" for Belles' issuing a directive limiting overtime in February 2009.
Claim I: "2010 Leaving Training Session Claim" for Seely's having made a complaint about Garza's leaving a training session early resulting in a July 2010 reprimand and an entry in his 2011 evaluation.
Claim J: "2011 Personal Use of a Department Vehicle Claim" for Belles' and Copeland's retaliation against Garza in August 2011 by initiating an investigation and imposing a verbal reprimand for Garza's asking an on-duty police officer to transport purchased shrubs for him using a Department vehicle.
Claim K: "2011 Retaliatory Complaint Claim" for Seely and Wisner's having filed a complaint in April 2011 against Garza in retaliation for an earlier discrimination and hostile work environment complaint filed by Garza in April 2011 against Seely.
Claim L: "2011 Brady List Placement Claim" against the City for placing Garza on a Brady list in December 2011 prior to the conclusion of Garza's grievance and arbitration hearing challenge to discipline imposed against Garza over inaccuracies in Garza's February 16, 2011, search warrant affidavit.
Claim M1: "2011 Disparate Discipline/Claim" against the City for other non-Hispanic officers not being similarly disciplined for conduct similar to that engaged in by Garza.
Claim M2: "2011 Disparate Brady List Inclusion Claim" against the City for other non-Hispanic officers not being placed on the Brady list for dishonest conduct.
Claim N: Unalleged "Accusation of Dishonesty Claim" arising out of testimony Copeland gave in an April 2013 arbitration proceeding which post-dates the filing of the complaint.
Claim O: Unalleged "2011 News Report Claim" against the City for cooperating in a December 8, 2011 negative news report about Garza.
Claim P: Unalleged "2012 Facebook Posting Claim" against the City for failing to address an objectionable June 2012 Facebook posting by Officer Wisner.
Claim Q: Unalleged "1999 Sergeant's Examination Claim" for 13 years' worth of increased wages beginning in 1999 ($84, 500) had Garza taken and passed the sergeant's exam in 1999; Garza claims his plans were disrupted because of the 1999 investigation and resulting grievance and 2000 arbitration proceeding.
Claim R: Unalleged "1999 Removal from Narcotics Unit Claim" for three years loss of specialty overtime pay from 1999 to 2001 ($45, 000) for having been wrongfully removed from the narcotics unit as a consequence of the 1999 investigation and resulting grievance and arbitration proceeding, even though he ...

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