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Wilson v. State

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 27, 2013

DAWN WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF OREGON, UMATILLA COUNTY, and DEAN GUSHWA and THEODORE KULONGOSKI (in their Individual and Official Capacities), Defendants.

Thomas K. Doyle, and Aruna A. Masih, Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan, LLP, Portland, OR. Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and David L. Kramer, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, N.E., Salem, OR, Attorneys for Defendants. Kulongoski and the State of Oregon.

Kimberlee C. Morrow, and Mark C. Sherman, Hart Wagner, LLP, Broadway, Potland, Oregon, Attorneys for Defendant Umatilla County.

OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

United States Magistrate Judge Paul Papak issued Findings and Recommendation in this case on August 9, 2013. Dkt. 85. Judge Papak recommended that the State of Oregon's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 31) be granted as to all claims asserted by Plaintiff and the State of Oregon and Governor Kulongoski be dismissed with prejudice. Judge Papak further recommended that Umatilla County's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 54) should be denied as to Plaintiff's Title VII and Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030 hostile work environment claims and granted with prejudice as to all other claims asserted against Umatilla County.

Plaintiff and Umatilla County both filed objections to Judge Papak's Findings and Recommendation. Dkts. 92, 93. Both parties responded. Dkts. 100, 101. Plaintiff objects to Judge Papak's findings in regard to Claims One, Two, and Three against Umatilla County. Umatilla County objects to Judge Papak's recommendation that the Court deny Umatilla County's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's Title VII and Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030 hostile work environment claims. After Judge Papak's ruling, the parties filed a stipulated motion to dismiss Defendants Kulongoski and the State of Oregon. Dkt. 102.

STANDARDS FOR REVIEWING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

Under the Federal Magistrates Act ("Act"), the Court may "accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). If a party files objections to a magistrate's findings and recommendations, "the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Id.; Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

For those portions of a magistrate's findings and recommendations to which neither party has objected, the Act does not prescribe any standard of review. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 152 (1985) ("There is no indication that Congress, in enacting [the Act], intended to require a district judge to review a magistrate's report[.]"); United States. v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) ( en banc ) (the court must review de novo magistrate's findings and recommendations if objection is made, "but not otherwise"). Although in the absence of objections no review is required, the Act "does not preclude further review by the district judge[] sua sponte ... under a de novo or any other standard." Thomas, 474 U.S. at 154. Indeed, the Advisory Committee Notes to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) recommend that "[w]hen no timely objection is filed, " the Court review the magistrate's recommendations for "clear error on the face of the record."

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are set out in Judge Papak's Findings and Recommendation. Dkt. 85. Briefly, Plaintiff's claims arise from her alleged sexual harassment and assaults by Dean Gushwa, the Umatilla County District Attorney, during Plaintiff's employment at the Umatilla County District Attorney's Office. Plaintiff alleges gender discrimination, hostile work environment, negligent retention, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff raises these claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title VII, Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030, and Oregon common law.

DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Objections

Plaintiff objects to Judge Papak's recommendation to dismiss certain claims against Umatilla County. Specifically, Plaintiff objects to Judge Papak's conclusions that: (1) for purposes of Plaintiff's Equal Protection claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983, Gushwa was not a final policy maker for Umatilla County; (2) for purposes of Plaintiff's gender discrimination claims under Title VII and Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030, Gushwa was not an alter-ego of Umatilla County; and (3) for purposes of Plaintiff's retaliation claims, no adverse action was taken against Plaintiff. The Court has reviewed de novo Judge Papak's Findings and Recommendation, ...


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