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Simmons v. Krueger

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

December 23, 2014

STEPHEN C. SIMMONS, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN KRUEGER, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Kevin Krueger's ("Krueger") motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 26). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On June 10, 2014, Plaintiff Stephen Simmons ("Simmons") filed an amended complaint against Kevin Krueger and the State of Washington. Dkt. 17. On September 2, 2014, the Court granted the State of Washington's motion to dismiss. Dkt. 24.

On October 16, 2014, Krueger filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 26. On November 3, 2014, Simmons responded. Dkt. 28. On November 11, 2014, Krueger replied. Dkt. 32.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This case stems from Simmons's allegations of retaliation by his former supervisor, Krueger. With regard to the present motion, Simmons declares that Krueger failed to provide performance reviews for the years 2009 and 2010; Krueger has failed to produce Simmons's 2008 review, which recommended a 3% raise; and that Krueger is responsible for the stripping of Simmons's job responsibilities in 2012 and an intimidating letter sent in November 2012. Dkt. 30, Declaration of Stephen Simmons; Dkt. 28 at 2-9.

III. DISCUSSION

In this case, Krueger moves the Court to enter judgment in his favor on Simmons's claim for retaliation under the Washington Law Against Discrimination, RCW Chapter 49.60 ("WLAD"), and his claim for violation of Simmons's First Amendment rights. Dkt. 26.

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative evidence, not simply "some metaphysical doubt"). See also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). Conversely, a genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute, requiring a judge or jury to resolve the differing versions of the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 253 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. P. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

The determination of the existence of a material fact is often a close question. The Court must consider the substantive evidentiary burden that the nonmoving party must meet at trial - e.g., a preponderance of the evidence in most civil cases. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254; T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630. The Court must resolve any factual issues of controversy in favor of the nonmoving party only when the facts specifically attested by that party contradict facts specifically attested by the moving party. The nonmoving party may not merely state that it will discredit the moving party's evidence at trial, in the hopes that evidence can be developed at trial to support the claim. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630 (relying on Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Conclusory, nonspecific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and missing facts will not be presumed. Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990).

B. Statute of Limitations

Washington's three-year statute of limitations applies to claims for retaliation under both the WLAD and § 1983. RCW 4.16.080(2); Washington v. Boeing Co., 105 Wn.App. 1, 7-8 (2000) (WLAD); RK Ventures, Inc. v. City of Seattle, 307 F.3d 1045, 1058 (9th Cir. 2002) (§ 1983). It is undisputed that ...


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