Civ. No. 07-6323-TC.
June 2, 2009
ORDER AND OPINION
Plaintiff Henry Manjarres ("Manjarres") filed this action against the Oregon Department of Transportation ("ODOT") asserting claims under Title VII for retaliation, discrimination and harassment. ODOT moves for summary judgment on the grounds that claim preclusion bars Manjarres's claims. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 73(b), the parties have consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS ODOT's motion for summary judgment.
Manjarres is Native American and Hispanic. He has worked for ODOT for approximately twenty-five years. For the first twelve years of his employment, Manjarres worked as an Engineering Specialist. Then, Manjarres became a Civil Rights Specialist in the Office of Civil Rights. He has worked in this capacity for the past thirteen years. (Doc. 37, Manjarres Decl. ¶¶ 2, 3.)
On October 27, 2007, Manjarres filed suit in Marion County Circuit Court against ODOT and individual defendants asserting claims under ORS 695A.030 for, among other things, discrimination and retaliation. (Doc. 19, ex. 1.) In his state court complaint, Manjarres asserted that his employers discriminated against him due to his race and national origin. ( Id. at *2.) Specifically, Manjarres asserted that he was passed over for a position in favor of a less-qualified Caucasian employee; that ODOT retaliated against him for engaging in protected conduct; and that he was treated differently than similarly situated Caucasian employees. ( Id. at *2-6.)
Approximately ten days later, on November 7, 2007, Manjarres filed the above-captioned case. (Doc. 1.) The federal and state court actions arise out of identical operative facts. (Doc. 1; Doc. 19, ex. 1.) As in his state court complaint, Manjarres claimed discrimination based on race and national origin. (Doc. 1.) The federal claim alleged that Manjarres had been passed over for promotion in favor of a less qualified Caucasian employee; scrutinized to a higher degree than similarly situated Caucasian employees; denied vacation time when similarly situated Caucasian employees were not; and retaliated against for his internal complaints. (Doc. 1.)
On April 23, 2009, after a jury trial in which the jury had found in favor of defendants the state court entered a general judgment in favor of ODOT and the other individual defendants. (Doc. 54.) This judgment dismissed all of Manjarres's claims with prejudice and resolved all matters related to Manjarres's lawsuit. (Doc. 54 at *14.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 allows the granting of summary judgment:
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.
The movant has the initial burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists or that a material fact essential to the nonmovant's claim is missing. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986). Once the movant has met its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to produce specific evidence to establish a genuine issue of material fact or to establish the existence of all facts material to the claim. Id.; see also, Bhan v. NME Hosp., Inc., 929 F.2d 1404, 1409 (9th Cir. 1991); Nissan Fire Marine Ins. Co., Ltd., v. Fritz Cos., Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1105 (9th Cir. 2000). In order to meet this burden, the nonmovant "may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading," but must instead "set out specific facts showing a genuine issue of fact for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
Material facts which preclude entry of summary judgment are those which, under applicable substantive law, may affect the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Factual disputes are genuine if they "properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Id. On the other hand, if, after the court has drawn all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmovant, "the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative," summary judgment may be granted. Id.
1. Second Claim for Relief: Violation of the Family and Medical Leave ActODOT argues that Manjarres was never denied any vacation or Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and that Manjarres never suffered any adverse employment action related to his use of vacation or FMLA time. Manjarres represented, both in his response to ODOT's motion for summary judgment and in his response to ODOT's supplemental submission, that he agrees to dismiss this claim. Based on these concessions, the court grants ODOT's motion for summary judgment on this claim.
2. First Claim for Relief: Violation of Title VII based on Race and National Origin Discrimination and Retaliation and Third Claim for Relief: Violation of 1981 based on "race and color" discrimination
ODOT argues that the Marion County Circuit Court's adverse judgement bars plaintiff's Title VII and 1981 claims under the doctrine of res judicata, which is also known as claim preclusion. Manjarres disputes that claim preclusion bars his claim, stating that his state court claims were based on Oregon's state statute rather than Title VII and contending that he voluntarily dismissed his state statute discrimination claims before the state court adjudicated those claims.
Claim preclusion prohibits the relitigation of any claims that were raised or could have been raised in a prior action. Western Radio Servs. Co. Inc. v. Glickman, 123 F.3d 1189, 1192 (9th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). The doctrine serves to "relieve parties of the cost and vexation of multiple lawsuits, conserve judicial resources, and by preventing inconsistent decisions, encourage reliance on adjudication." See Marin v. HEW Health Care Financing Agency, 769 F.2d 590, 594 (9th Cir. 1985) (internal quotations omitted). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1738, federal courts must give state courts judgments the same preclusive effect as federal judgments. Claim preclusion applies only when there is: (1) an identity of claims; (2) a final judgment on the merits; and (3) identity or privity between the parties. Western Radio, 123 F.3d at 1192 (internal citations omitted).
Here, the first requirement for issue preclusion is satisfied. A comparison of Manjarres's state court and federal court complaints reveals that the claims, and the operative facts upon which they are based, are identical. Indeed, the only difference is that Manjarres brought the federal claims under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 while he asserts the state claims pursuant to ORS 659A.030. Manjarres' assertion that issue preclusion does not apply because Title VII and ORS 659A.030 are different statutes is not persuasive. The Title VII claims could have been raised in the state court action. Wirkkula v. Union Oil Co. of California, 100 Or. App. 219, 221-22 (Or.App. 1990) (stating there is a presumption of concurrent state jurisdiction over a federal claim). Claim preclusion prevents relitigation of claims that could have been raised in a prior action. Western Radio, 123 F.3d at 1192. Moreover, to allow Manjarres this "second bite at the apple" by allowing him to litigate his discrimination and retaliation claims a second time in federal court would waste judicial resources and thwart claim preclusion's purpose of relieving parties of the cost and vexation of multiple lawsuits. Marin, 769 F.2d at 594.
Next, ODOT has provided evidence that Manjarres had a full and fair opportunity to litigate his claims before the state court entered a judgment on the merits. Manjarres appears to contend that there is no state court final judgment on the merits of his ORS 659A.030 race and national origin disparate treatment and hostile work environment claims because he voluntarily dismissed those claims. The Marion County Circuit Court General Judgment (doc 19, ex. 1) submitted by ODOT belies this claim. The General Judgment states:
At the conclusion of plaintiff's case; (1) plaintiff moved to dismiss his Second Claim, Count 1: Race and National Origin Discrimination (Disparate Treatment) against the Oregon Department of Transportation pursuant to ORS 659A.030 in his First Amended Complaint, Second Claim, Count 3: Hostile Work Environment Race and National Origin Discrimination against the Oregon Department of Transportation pursuant to ORS 659A.030(1)(b). . . . The court granted the motions and dismissed these claims with prejudice.
(Doc. 19, ex. 1 at *4, lines 4:13, emphasis added.) Manjarres fails to raise any dispute of material fact concerning the sufficiency or the finality of the state court proceedings.
Finally, the third element necessary for issue preclusion is satisfied-the parties in the state court action and the parties in the above captioned federal action are identical. Western Radio, 123 F.3d at 1192.
ODOT has made a successful prima facie showing in support of their position that Manjarres's Title VII and 1981 claims are precluded by the final judgment of the Marion County Circuit Court.
The order requiring ODOT to show cause filed April 29, 2009 (doc. 53) is discharged.
The court grants ODOT's motion for summary judgment (doc 15) and Manjarres's claims are dismissed with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.