Ollier et al v. Sweetwater Union High School District et al

Filing 204

ORDER denying 197 Motion for More Amended, Additional or New Findings. Signed by Judge M. James Lorenz on 6/21/2012. (mtb)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 VERONICA OLLIER, et al., Plaintiffs, 12 13 v. 14 SWEETWATER UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 17 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Civil No. 07cv714-L(WMc) ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR AMENDED, ADDITIONAL OR NEW FINDINGS [doc. #197] In the guise of a motion for amended, additional or new findings under Federal Rules of 18 Civil Procedure 52(b) and 59(a)(2), defendant seeks: (1) rulings on objections to designated 19 deposition testimony that was submitted for trial purposes and (2) the result of a site visit at 20 Castle Park High School. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. 21 I. Background 22 Defendant District was alleged to have unlawfully discriminated against female student 23 athletes at CPHS with respect to “practice and competitive facilities; locker rooms; training 24 facilities; equipment and supplies; travel and transportation, coaches and coaching facilities; 25 scheduling of games and practice times; publicity; and funding” in violation of Title IX. 26 (Complaint, ¶ 40.) Additionally, plaintiffs allegde that defendant had “failed to provide female 27 students with equal athletic participation opportunities, despite their demonstrated athletic 28 interest and and abilities to participate in athletics.” Id., ¶ 71. Because of these alleged failures, 07cv714 1 plaintiffs asserted that girls’ participation in sports is severely limited and interested girls are 2 discouraged from going out for sports. Id., ¶ 74. On March 30, 2009, the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary adjudication on 3 4 their second cause of action finding that plaintiffs demonstrated through uncontroverted, 5 admissible evidence that defendants are not in compliance with Title IX based on unequal 6 participation opportunities in athletic program. [doc. #87] The remaining claims were violation 7 of Title IX based on unequal treatment and benefits to females at CPHS, and retaliation against 8 the District defendant only.1 A ten-day bench trial was held between September 14, 2010 and October 15, 2010. Based 9 10 on the trial, the parties’ stipulations, and admitted evidence, the Court issued findings of fact and 11 conclusions of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a) on February 9, 2012. [doc. 12 #193] The evidence considered included live testimony at trial, exhibits admitted at trial, 13 discovery responses, deposition testimony to which there were no objections, stipulated facts. 14 Some marked and lodged deposition testimony was submitted that had objected to by defendant. 15 Defendant did not seek rulings on the objected-to deposition testimony after the conclusion of 16 the trial or prior to the issuance of the Court’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. 17 II. Legal Standard 18 Defendant relies on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52(b) or 59(a)(2) for the relief it 19 seeks. 20 Rule 52(b) allows a court to amend findings after a bench trial: On a party's motion filed no later than 28 days after the entry of judgment, the court may amend its findings – or make additional findings – and may amend the judgment accordingly. The motion may accompany a motion for a new trial under Rule 59. 21 22 23 24 Motions under Rule 52(b) are “designed to correct findings of fact which are central to 25 the ultimate decision; the Rule is not intended to serve as a vehicle for a rehearing.” R.C. Fischer 26 and Co. v. Cartwright, 2011 WL 6025659, *4 (N.D. Cal. 2011) (citing Davis v. Mathews, 450 F. 27 28 1 Plaintiffs stipulated to dismissal of their 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim which resulted in the dismissal of claims against all individual defendants. 2 07cv714 1 Supp. 308, 318 (E.D. Cal. 1978)). Rule 52(b) motions are appropriately granted in order to 2 correct manifest errors of law or fact or to address newly discovered evidence or controlling case 3 law. Fontenot v. Mesa Petroleum Co., 791 F.2d 1207, 1219–1220 (5th Cir. 1986). A motion to 4 amend a court's factual and legal findings is properly denied where the proposed additional facts 5 would not affect the outcome of the case or are immaterial to the court's conclusions. 6 Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Atropos Island, 777 F.2d 1344, 1352 (9th Cir.1985). 7 As plaintiffs accurately point out, defendant is seeking evidentiary rulings to certain 8 submitted designated deposition testimony and not to correct any particular findings of fact that 9 are found in the Court’s Order. Moreover, defendant has not identified which, if any, of the 10 requested evidentiary objections found in depositions could possibly be central to the Court’s 11 ultimate decision. The Court therefore denies defendant’s motion under Rule 52(b) 12 13 14 15 Rule 59(a)(2) provides that: After a nonjury trial, the court may, on motion for a new trial, open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony, amend findings of fact and conclusions of law or make new ones, and direct the entry of a new judgment. A motion under Rule 59, like a motion under Rule 52(b), is granted in order to correct 16 manifest errors of law or fact or to address newly discovered evidence. Brown v. Wright, 588 17 F.2d 708, 710 (9th Cir. 1978) 18 Defendant has not moved for a new trial as required under Rule 59(a)(2). Nor does 19 defendant suggest any manifest errors of law or fact that would form the basis for a new trial or 20 the grounds on which the court could grant a new trial or amend its findings of fact and 21 conclusions of law. Indeed all defendant seeks are (1) rulings for objections made during various 22 depositions that were taken pre-trial and (2) the results of a site inspection that did not occur. 23 Accordingly, the Court denies the motion as being without factual or legal basis. 24 / / / 25 / / / 26 / / / 27 / / / 28 / / / 3 07cv714 1 Conclusion 2 Based on the foregoing, defendant’s motion for amended, additional or new findings is 3 DENIED. 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 DATED: June 21, 2012 6 7 M. James Lorenz United States District Court Judge 8 COPY TO: 9 HON. WILLIAM McCURINE, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 10 11 ALL PARTIES/COUNSEL 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 07cv714