Mendoza v. MV Transportation, Inc.

Filing 43

ORDER re: 29 33 Motions for summary judgment. Supplemental evidence from Plaintiff, if any, due by 06/08/17. Requests for hearing, if any, due by 06/09/17. Motion hearing previously set for 06/12/17 is vacated. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 06/01/17. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/1/2017)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 MICHAEL MENDOZA, Plaintiff, 5 6 7 8 v. MV TRANSPORTATION, INC., Case No. 16-cv-04005-TEH ORDER RE: MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Defendant. 9 Currently pending before the Court in this disability discrimination case are 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Defendant MV Transportation, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff Michael 12 Mendoza’s motion for partial summary judgment. 13 The following facts are undisputed: MV Transportation, Inc. hired Michael 14 Mendoza as a bus driver in training but terminated him, before training was completed, for 15 failing to pass a physical. Mendoza has Type 2 diabetes, which he controls by giving 16 himself insulin shots several times a day. Under federal Department of Transportation 17 (“DOT”) regulations, a person with an “established medical history or clinical diagnosis of 18 diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control” is not qualified to drive 19 commercial motor vehicles. 49 C.F.R. § 391.41(b)(3). However, individuals with diabetes 20 who wish to drive commercial vehicles may do so if they obtain an exemption through the 21 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Federal Diabetes Exemption Program. 22 Mendoza has never sought or obtained such an exemption. 23 It is further undisputed that: California has adopted the medical requirements in the 24 DOT regulations as the “minimum medical requirements” for receiving a California 25 commercial driver license (“CDL”). Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13, § 28.18. An individual who 26 does not meet these medical requirements but who seeks a CDL “for purposes other than 27 engaging in interstate commerce, may submit a completed medical examination form to 28 the department [of motor vehicles] for consideration of obtaining a state approved medical 1 certificate.” Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13, § 28.19. Mendoza applied for and obtained a 2 California permit to drive commercial vehicles. As part of the application process, he 3 completed a medical examination and obtained a certificate stating that the medical 4 examiner “examined Mendoza, Michael E. in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier 5 Safety Regulations (49 CFR 391.41-391.49) and with knowledge of the driving duties, I 6 find this person is qualified, and, if applicable, only when . . . accompanied by a Diabetes 7 waiver/exemption.” Ex.3 to Rogers Decl. at MENDOZA 000010 (ECF No. 31).1 8 Mendoza contends that this medical certificate is the “state approved medical certificate” that allows him to drive intrastate pursuant to California Code of Regulations 10 title 13, section 28.19, and that he did not need a federal DOT waiver because the job for 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 which he was hired did not involve interstate commerce. On its face, however, the 12 certificate states that Mendoza is qualified to drive only when accompanied by a diabetes 13 waiver or exemption, and Mendoza testified at his deposition that he does not have any 14 such waiver or exemption from any state or federal agency. Mendoza Dep. at 208:14-22 15 (Ex. A to Wenter Decl. (ECF No. 33-3)). Without such a waiver, the certificate on which 16 Mendoza relies does not qualify him to drive commercial vehicles. 17 Mendoza also testified at his deposition that he spoke with a person, whose name he 18 does not recall, at his local California Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) office who 19 told him that he would not have gotten a permit if he did not have the necessary medical 20 paperwork on file. Id. at 157:3-158:14. Mendoza further testified that the DMV 21 representative told him that the representative could not provide a copy of the paperwork 22 because it was on file in Sacramento. Id. at 154:14-16. These statements are hearsay to 23 the extent they are offered as evidence that Mendoza had a diabetes waiver or exemption. 24 Moreover, MV subpoenaed Mendoza’s DMV file during the course of this litigation, and – 25 26 27 28 1 The cited version of the medical examiner’s certificate was notarized after the fact and produced by Mendoza during discovery. MV produced an un-notarized version of the certificate at D00146. Ex. 4 to Otten Declaration (ECF No. 33-5). Aside from the notarization, the two versions of the document are identical, and the parties do not dispute its content. 2 1 as Mendoza does not dispute – that file contains no diabetes waiver or exemption. Wenter 2 Reply Decl. ¶ 5 & Exs. D & E (ECF No. 38-2). 3 Based on the evidence presented, no reasonable juror could conclude that Mendoza 4 had a state medical certificate finding him qualified to drive commercial vehicles in the 5 absence of a diabetes waiver or exemption. Thus, even if Mendoza is correct that he did 6 not require a DOT exemption and only required a state approved medical certificate to be 7 qualified to drive for MV, there is no triable issue of fact as to his qualifications. Mendoza 8 does not argue that he can prevail on his claims without being qualified to drive 9 commercial vehicles, and granting summary judgment to MV therefore appears to be appropriate. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) (“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to 12 judgment as a matter of law.”). 13 However, out of an abundance of caution, the Court will provide Mendoza with one 14 final opportunity to present evidence that he had a medical certificate finding him qualified 15 to drive commercial vehicles even without a diabetes waiver or exemption, or evidence 16 that he actually obtained such a waiver or exemption. Any such evidence shall be filed on 17 or before June 8, 2017. If no evidence is timely submitted, the Court will grant MV’s 18 motion for summary judgment and deny Mendoza’s motion for partial summary judgment 19 for the reasons stated in this order. 20 The Court finds the pending motions suitable for resolution without oral argument. 21 However, if either party files a request for a hearing on or before June 9, 2017, then the 22 Court will hear argument on June 26, 2017, at 10:00 AM; otherwise, the matter will be 23 deemed submitted on the papers. The June 12, 2017 hearing is VACATED. 24 25 IT IS SO ORDERED. 26 27 28 Dated: 06/01/17 _____________________________________ THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge 3

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