Jordan v. The Presidio Trust et al

Filing 74

ORDER by Judge Kandis A. Westmore granting 63 Motion to Dismiss. Amended Pleadings due by 8/4/2017. (kawlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/5/2017)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 PATRICIA JORDAN, Plaintiff, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 16-cv-02122-KAW ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS v. THE PRESIDIO TRUST, et al., Re: Dkt. No. 63 Defendants. 12 13 On April 21, 2016, Plaintiff Patricia Jordan filed the instant case against Defendants 14 Presidio Trust and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), 15 alleging that she was terminated from her position with the Presidio Trust based on her age and 16 gender. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) On January 30, 2017, the Court granted Defendants' motion to 17 dismiss the complaint. (Dkt. No. 49.) Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, which brought two 18 causes of action for declaratory relief and injunctive relief, based on whether Plaintiff's claims are 19 subject to the "Presidio Trust Procedures Related to Claims of Workplace Discrimination." (First 20 Amended Compl. ("FAC") ¶¶ 67, 77, Dkt. No. 51.) Defendants now move to dismiss Plaintiff's 21 pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Defs.' Mot., Dkt. No. 63.) 22 The Court deemed the matter suitable for disposition without hearing pursuant to Civil 23 Local Rule 7-1(b) and vacated the hearing previously set for July 6, 2017. (Dkt. No. 73.) Having 24 considered the papers filed by the parties and the relevant legal authority, the Court GRANTS 25 Defendants' motion because Plaintiff only brings two causes of action for declaratory relief and 26 injunctive relief; these, however, "are not independent causes of action, but remedies." Hayes v. 27 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Case No.: 3-13-cv-420 KAW, 2013 WL 4117050, at *7 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 28 12, 2013); see also Rosenfeld v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 732 F. Supp. 2d 952, 975 (N.D. Cal. 1 2010) ("the Court notes that declaratory and injunctive relief are not causes of action; rather, they 2 are remedies"). To seek declaratory relief or injunctive relief, Plaintiff must first plead a cause of 3 action to support such relief. The Court therefore finds dismissal with leave to amend to be 4 appropriate. 5 In her opposition, Plaintiff appears to suggest that she is bringing an Administrative 6 Procedure Act ("APA") claim, which underlies her request for declaratory relief and an injunction. 7 (Plf.'s Opp'n at 4, Dkt. No. 71 ("the case seeks declaratory relief and an injunction against officers 8 of the subject agencies under §702").) As Defendants point out, however, Plaintiff's complaint 9 does not in fact include an APA cause of action, and an "argument in opposition cannot cure a defect in the pleading." Yamauchi v. Cotterman, 84 F. Supp. 3d 993, 1009 (N.D. Cal. 2015); see 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 also Broam v. Bogan, 320 F.3d 1023, 1026 n.2 (9th Cir. 2003) ("In determining the propriety of a 12 Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a court may not look beyond the complaint to a plaintiff's moving papers, 13 such as a memorandum in opposition to a defendant's motion to dismiss") (internal quotation 14 omitted). Thus, if Plaintiff intends to bring an APA claim, she must explicitly plead such a claim 15 in her amended complaint. The APA claim should, at the very least, specifically identify the exact 16 agency actions being challenged, whether it is the promulgation of the Presidio Trust Procedures 17 Related to Claims of Workplace Discrimination, the alleged "interagency agreement" between 18 Defendants, or some other alleged final action. 19 Because the Court dismisses Plaintiff's complaint on the ground that declaratory relief and 20 injunctive relief are not causes of action, the Court need not determine the merits of Defendants' 21 other arguments. The Court notes, however, the following issues that have been raised in the 22 parties' briefing: 23 First, should Plaintiff bring an APA claim, there is a question of whether the agency 24 discretion exception applies. (See Defs.' Reply at 3-5.) This discretion is a "very narrow" one, 25 which applies when "statutes are drawn in such broad terms that in a given case there is no law to 26 apply." Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 410 (1971) (internal 27 quotation omitted). 28 Second, there is a question of whether Plaintiff can adequately identify an injury-in-fact by 2 1 pointing to differences between the Presidio Trust's and the EEOC's procedures. (See Plf.'s Opp'n 2 at 6.) It is not clear that the cited differences alone are adequate to establish the concrete and 3 particularized injury required for standing purposes, and what legal authority exists to support 4 such a position. Third, again, the Court observes generally that statutory interpretation may properly be 5 6 conducted at the motion to dismiss stage because it is a legal question. (See also Dkt. No. 49 at 7 10.) The Court is unaware of any authority which concludes that legislative history is a matter 8 outside of the pleadings, such that a court cannot interpret a statute without converting a motion to 9 dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.1 Further, if the statute itself is clear, there may be 10 no need to analyze legislative history or intent at all. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 For the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion and dismisses 12 Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice. Plaintiff has thirty (30) days from the date of this order to 13 file the amended complaint. IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 15 Dated: July 5, 2017 __________________________________ KANDIS A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 1 28 To the extent Plaintiff intends to rely on this argument again, the Court expects Plaintiff to cite to relevant legal authority in support. 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?