United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
A. RUSSO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Central Oregon Truck Company, Inc., (“COTC”)
moves for summary judgment on plaintiff Michael Le Roux's
claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons set forth
below, defendant's motion is denied.
began working for COTC in January 2015 as a commercial truck
driver. Compl. ¶ 6 (doc. 1). Throughout his first year
at COTC plaintiff did not receive a single citation. Le Roux
Decl. ¶ 8 (doc. 26). In January 2016, plaintiff was
assigned trailer 413Q which was approximately 10 years old.
Le Roux Decl. ¶ 14 (doc. 26). Throughout the three
months driving trailer 413Q plaintiff received six citations.
Compl. ¶ 10 (doc. 1). Plaintiff repeatedly reported
problems with trailer 413Q to his supervisors in the daily
Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (“DVIRs”) and
in emails. Le Roux Decl. ¶¶ 15-29. (doc. 26).
April 7, 2016, plaintiff was ticketed for being overweight on
the axles. Le Roux Decl. ¶ 34. (doc. 26). Plaintiff
reported on his April 7, 2016, DVIR that the “truck,
trailer, and load were difficult to weigh due to changing air
pressures on [the] tag axles.” Id. After
dropping off the load, plaintiff wrote an email in which he
informed his employers he was “not hauling any more
loads with this truck or trailer until the issues [were]
corrected.” Le Roux Decl. Ex. 12, at 2 (doc. 26-12).
The COTC dispatcher, Ms. Cantrell, responded with a message
indicating plaintiff would not be permitted to return with an
empty truck and instructed him to pick up a load in
Clarkston, Washington. Le Roux Decl. Ex. 13, at 1 (doc.
26-13). On the morning of April 8, 2016, plaintiff spoke with
his supervisor, who assured plaintiff he would find a lighter
load for him so he would not be overweight on the axles. Le
Roux Decl. ¶ 37. (doc. 26).
Cantrell dispatched the details for the lighter load to
plaintiff. Le Roux Decl. Ex. 14 (doc. 26-14). In the dispatch
Ms. Cantrell listed the pick-up time as 3:30 PM. Le Roux
Decl. Ex. 14, at 1 (doc. 26-14). The correct pick-up time was
3:00 PM. Plaintiff arrived at Bennett Lumber around 3:03 or
3:04 PM, nearly 30 minutes before he was instructed to be
there. Bennett Decl. Ex. 9, at 12 (doc. 27-9). Upon his
arrival, plaintiff found that all of the Bennett Lumber
employees had gone home and the lumber yard was locked and
deserted. Bennett Decl. Ex. 9, at 12 (doc. 27-9). When he
contacted his employer he was informed he should spend the
night in Clarkston, Washington, rent a car on Saturday
morning and drive 350 miles to return home and then drive 350
miles back to Clarkston by Monday morning to pick up the load
at Bennett Lumber. Le Roux Decl. ¶ 41 (doc. 26). It is
unclear whether COTC would have reimbursed plaintiff for the
costs of the hotel room and rental car. At this point
plaintiff concluded his employer was “trying to
frustrate [him] to the point that [he] would quit.” Le
Roux Decl. ¶ 41 (doc. 26). Plaintiff sent in his
resignation and informed his supervisors he would return the
truck that evening. Le Roux Decl. ¶ 42 (doc. 26). COTC
employees called plaintiff and left voicemails threatening
him with jail if he did not stop the truck and turn it
around. Le Roux Decl. ¶ 43 (doc. 26); Bennett Decl. Ex.
5, at 7-8 (doc. 27-5).
his employment, plaintiff repeatedly requested that his
employer repair trailer 413Q. Two days after plaintiff
resigned, COTC began significant efforts to repair the
trailer. Bennett Decl. Ex 6, at 15 (doc. 27-6). Within seven
weeks of plaintiff's resignation, COTC had spent almost
four thousand dollars on repairs to trailer 413Q. See Bennett
Decl. Ex. 6 (doc. 27-6). Shortly thereafter, the trailer was
placed in storage and no longer used. Bennett Decl. Ex. 13,
at 26 (doc. 27-13).
April 4, 2017, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant
asserting claims of retaliation for reporting safety concerns
under the Surface Transportation Assistant Act
(“STAA”); retaliation for refusing to operate a
commercial vehicle that violates a safety standard under the
STAA; and whistleblower retaliation under Oregon law. Compl.
judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, affidavits, and admissions on
file, if any, show “there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the [moving party] is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
Substantive law on an issue determines the materiality of a
fact. T.W. Elec. Servs., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors
Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). Whether
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party determines the authenticity
of the dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If the moving
party shows the absence of a genuine issue of material fact,
the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify
facts which show a genuine issue for trial. Id. at
rules of construction apply when evaluating a summary
judgment motion: (1) all reasonable doubts as to the
existence of genuine issues of material fact should be
resolved against the moving party; and (2) all inferences to
be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec., 809
F.2d at 630-31.
argues summary judgment is proper as to plaintiff's
claims for relief, and that partial summary judgment is
proper on each of plaintiff's claims for lost wages and
Retaliation for Reporting a Violation of a Safety Regulation
alleges he was retaliated against for reporting safety
concerns under the STAA. 49 U.S.C. § 31105(a)(1)(A). The
STAA prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or
discriminating against an ...