United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' second
motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 88). Having thoroughly
considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record,
the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby DENIES
the motion for the reasons explained herein.
facts of this case have been thoroughly set out in the
Court's order on Defendants' first motion for summary
judgment. (Dkt. No. 54 at 1-5.) The Court will not repeat
them here. In its December 7, 2016 order, the Court dismissed
a majority of Plaintiffs' claims. (Id. at
13-14.) The only remaining claims in this matter are
Plaintiff Alfredo Juarez's (“Plaintiff”)
claims against the City of Bellingham and Officer Zachary
Serad for violation of the Washington Law against
Discrimination (“WLAD”), Washington Revised Code
chapter 49.60. (Id.) The parties have completed
discovery, and Defendants renew their motion for summary
judgment on these claims. (Dkt. No. 88.)
judgment is appropriate only where the “pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In making this determination,
the Court must view the facts and justifiable inferences to
be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S.
242, 255 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is
properly made and supported, the opposing party must present
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). A dispute
about a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient
evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49.
Summary judgment is appropriate against a party who
“fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 324 (1986).
Analysis of Plaintiff's WLAD Claim
order for Plaintiff to make out a prima facie case of
racial/national origin discrimination in place of public
accommodation under WLAD, he must establish that: (1) he is a
member of a protected class, (2) the City's
“establishment” (the traffic stop) is a place of
public accommodation, (3) Defendants discriminated against
him by not treating him in a manner comparable to those
outside the protected class, and (4) the protected status was
a substantial factor causing the discrimination. Demelesh
v. Ross Stores, 20 P.3d 447, 456 (Wash.Ct.App.
Courts apply the burden shifting regime used by federal
courts to discrimination claims under WLAD. Id. A
plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of
discrimination, which requires only a minimal showing.
Id.; Ramirez v. Olympic Health Management
Systems, Inc., 610 F.Supp.2d 1266, 1280 (E.D. Wash.
2009). The burden then shifts to the defense to present a
legitimate, nondiscriminatory explanation for the action.
Demelesh, 20 P.3d at 456. The plaintiff
must then respond by showing that this reason is pretextual.
the parties do not dispute that Plaintiff has established the
first two elements of his prima facie case of discrimination.
(Dkt. No. 88 at 15.) In dispute are elements three and four,
and whether Plaintiff can show Defendants' proffered
legitimate explanation is pretextual.
Element Three: Unequal Treatment
alleges that Officer Serad discriminated against him by
assuming he was a criminal or an undocumented immigrant,
rather than a scared teenager, by inquiring into his
immigration status, and by involving Border Patrol in the
traffic stop. (Dkt. Nos. 1 at 20, 94 at 18.) He asserts that
the Bellingham Police Department (“BPD”) does not
treat “white teenagers in similar circumstances . . .
in this manner.” (Dkt. No. 94 at 19.)
evidence for this assertion, Plaintiff offers a statement
from a stepmother about her experience when her white stepson
was stopped by BPD while drinking and “joyriding,
” (See Dkt. Nos. 45 at 2; 58 at 2)
and Officer Serad's deposition testimony (Dkt. No. 95-2).
Officer Serad did not give Plaintiff the opportunity to
contact his family, despite the fact that he had
Plaintiff's name and home address. (See
generally Dkt. No. 27.) Officer Serad testified that he
had never previously asked a white, black, or Native American
driver about their immigration status, or called Border
Patrol on a driver. (Dkt. Nos. 95-2 at 9; 88 at
12.) He also stated he would not necessarily inquire ...