Hartman et al v. Santa Clara County et al

Filing 151

Order by Judge Araceli Martinez-Olguin denying 139 Motion for Equitable Relief and denying as moot 150 Motion to Shorten Time. (ads, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/3/2024)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 SHANNON HARTMAN, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 9 10 v. SANTA CLARA COUNTY, et al., Defendants. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Case No. 22-cv-01591-AMO ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR EQUITABLE RELIEF AND DENYING AS MOOT MOTION TO SHORTEN TIME Re: Dkt. Nos. 139, 150 Before the Court is Plaintiff Katie Lightfoot’s motion for equitable relief. While Title VII 13 authorizes equitable remedies, such as reinstatement, those remedies are ordered “[i]f the court 14 finds that the respondent has intentionally engaged in or is intentionally engaging in an unlawful 15 employment practice charged in the complaint[.]” See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(1); see also 16 Proctor v. Consol. Freightways Corp. of Delaware, 942 F.2d 793 (9th Cir. 1991) (“If 17 discrimination has occurred, Title VII aims to make the victims of unlawful discrimination whole 18 by restoring them, so far as possible, to a position where they would have been were it not for the 19 unlawful discrimination.”) (table decision). Here, no such finding has been made. Thus, 20 assuming, without deciding, that Lightfoot still has a Title VII claim available to her in this case, 21 the instant motion for equitable relief is premature prior to a liability determination and is 22 therefore DENIED. See E.E.O.C. v. Goodyear Aerospace Corp., 813 F.2d 1539, 1544-45 (9th 23 Cir. 1987) (reversing and remanding district court’s denial of permanent injunction where 24 questions remained about the defendant’s liability, with instructions that “[i]f the EEOC proves its 25 case, and Goodyear fails to prove the violation will likely not recur, the EEOC will be entitled to 26 an injunction.”). 27 28 To the extent Lightfoot seeks to, on reply, restyle her motion as one for a preliminary injunction, it is also DENIED. “[R]estor[ing] the status quo,” as Lightfoot seeks, see ECF 149 at 1 10, is not the proper object of a motion for preliminary injunction. See Univ. of Texas v. 2 Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981) (“[I]t is generally inappropriate for a federal court at the 3 preliminary-injunction stage to give a final judgment on the merits.”) (citations omitted); see also 4 Senate of Cal. v. Mosbacher, 968 F.2d 974, 978 (9th Cir. 1992) (“[a] judgment on the merits in the 5 guise of preliminary relief is a highly inappropriate result”) (citations omitted). United States District Court Northern District of California 6 The Court notes that, in their opposition, Defendants seek dismissal of any claims that are 7 duplicative of those pending in a parallel class action. See ECF 145 at 8-13. Lightfoot objects 8 that the request is improper and contrary to the sequencing Defendants insisted on during the 9 status conference held May 8, 2024. See ECF 149 at 7. As discussed at length during that setting, 10 Defendants may file a separate motion to the extent they seek dismissal of any of Plaintiffs’ claims 11 on the ground that they are duplicative of those asserted in the parallel class case. 12 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: June 3, 2024 14 15 ARACELI MARTÍNEZ-OLGUÍN United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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