United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
J. BRYAN United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company's Motion for
Reconsideration. Dkt. 27.
Order on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt.
26) granted dismissal of two claims, Unlawful Retaliation and
Hostile Work Environment; granted partial dismissal of one
claim, Disparate Treatment (sex and disability
discrimination); and denied dismissal of two claims,
Disparate Treatment (age discrimination) and Wrongful
Discharge. Dkt. 26 at 20. Defendant seeks reconsideration of
the ruling on the claim for Wrongful Discharge. Dkt. 27.
Although Defendant has requested summary judgment of
dismissal for all claims, Defendant's briefing does not
directly discuss the wrongful discharge claim. See
Dkt. 1-13 at ¶6.4; Dkt. 15 at 20:8-13, 22:16-20,
23:13-16, 24:1-4; Dkt. 24. Wrongful discharge or termination
is a distinct and discrete type of claim from a claim for
unlawful retaliation. See, e.g, . Blinka v. Wash. State
Bar Ass'n, 109 Wn.App. 575 (2001). Whether this
omission was strategic or an oversight, Defendant has not met
its burden to show summary judgment of dismissal.
Defendant's motion should therefore be denied as to this
Dkt. 26 at 18.
asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Id. (emphasis added).
the phrase “Defendant has not met its burden”
(Dkt. 26 at 18) was inartful, because the word
“burden” is commonly used and associated with
obligation of nonmoving parties when responding to motions
for summary judgment. What the Court intended to communicate,
consistent with Rule 56(c), was that Defendant only cursorily
referenced the Wrongful Discharge claim without
“support[ing] the assertion” that there was no
genuine issue of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
See Dkt. 1-13 at ¶6.4; Dkt. 15 at 20:8-13,
22:16-20, 23:13-16, 24:1-4; Dkt. 24. For example, Defendant
did not make the argument now made, Dkt. 35 at 1, that the
Wrongful Discharge claim is subsumed by the WLAD Unlawful
Retaliation claim. See Dkt. 15.
whether there is an issue of material fact as to the claim
for Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy has now
been squarely raised, and briefed by both parties. The Court
turns to the merits of the claim.
claims of Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy,
there are “four scenarios that . . . will potentially
expose the employer to liability.” Rose v. Anderson
Hay & Grain Co., 184 Wn.2d 268, 286-87 (2015),
citing Gardner v. Loomis Armored Inc., 128 Wn.2d
931, 936 (1996). They are: (1) where the discharge was a
result of refusing to commit an illegal act, (2) where the
discharge resulted due to the employee performing a public
duty of obligation, (3) where the discharge resulted because