United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION & ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge
Margarita Vejo asserted federal and state law discrimination
claims, among other claims, against defendants Portland
Public Schools ("PPS"), Petra Callin
("Callin"), and Roberta Cooper ("Cooper")
(collectively "defendants"). In September
2016, this Court denied in part defendants' Motions for
Summary Judgement (doc. 47) on the discrimination claims,
ruling that plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to
establish a genuine issue of material fact about whether
defendants had intentionally discriminated against her and
that individual defendants Callin and Cooper were not
entitled to qualified immunity. Now, defendants ask that, in
light of the Ninth Circuit's recent decision reversing
this Court's qualified immunity determination, this Court
reconsider the denial of summary judgment on plaintiffs'
state law discrimination claim and dismiss that claim against
all three defendants, (doc. 95) For the reasons stated below,
the motion for reconsideration is GRANTED. Upon
reconsideration, defendants' renewed motion for summary
judgment is GRANTED.
factual background of this case is well known to the parties
and will not be reproduced here. On September 8, 2016, this
Court issued an Opinion and Order granting in part and
denying in part defendants' motions for summary judgment.
Vejo v. Portland Pub. Sck, 204 F.Supp.3d 1149 (D.
Or. 2016). As relevant here, the Court granted
defendants' motion with respect to all of plaintiff s
claims except (1) plaintiffs federal law discrimination
claims against Callin and Cooper in their individual
capacities under the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment and (2) plaintiffs state law
discrimination claims against all three defendants pursuant
to Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.4O3, which prohibits
discrimination on account of race, religion, or national
origin in places of public accommodation. Id. at
1180. With respect to those claims, the Court determined that
plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to establish a
genuine issue of fact about federal and state law violations
and that Callin and Cooper were not entitled to qualified
immunity on the federal claims. See Id. at 1174
(equal protection claims); id. at 1174 n. 17
(qualified immunity); id. at 1175 (state law
discrimination claims). The Court observed that, to establish
a violation of either the Equal Protection Clause or Or. Rev.
Stat. § 659A.4O3, plaintiff had to present evidence that
defendants had terminated plaintiffs internship because of
her race, religion, or national origin. Id. at 1172,
Relying on the same evidence for both the federal and state
law discrimination claims, the Court determined that
plaintiff had met her burden to avoid summary judgment based
on (1) evidence that defendants terminated plaintiffs
internship without warning; (2) evidence that plaintiff had
not had any problematic interaction with a student; (3)
statements that Cooper had made to plaintiff; and (4)
plaintiffs testimony that defendants were aware of her race,
national origin, and religion. Id. at 1173.
filed a direct appeal of the Court's qualified immunity
determination and, on June 6, 2018 the Ninth Circuit reversed
and remanded. Vejo v. Portland Pub. Sch, 737
Fed.Appx. 309 (9th Cir. 2018). In its memorandum opinion, the
Ninth Circuit determined that plaintiff had failed to present
evidence that Callin had intentionally discriminated against
her and that plaintiffs evidence regarding Cooper's
motivations was insufficient to establish that Cooper that
intentionally discriminated against her. Id. at
311-12. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit concluded that both
Callin and Cooper were entitled to qualified immunity with
respect to plaintiffs federal law discrimination claims.
response to the Ninth Circuit's decision, defendants
filed a Motion for Order Dismissing Plaintiffs
Public-Accommodation Claim (doc. 95).
their motion, defendants ask the Court to revisit its denial
of summary judgment on plaintiffs state law discrimination
claims in light of the Ninth Circuit's ruling on
plaintiffs related federal claims.
Reconsideration of Interlocutory Orders
long as a district court has jurisdiction over the case, then
it possesses the inherent procedural power to reconsider,
rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for cause seen by
it to be sufficient.'" City of Los Angeles,
Harbor Div. v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 885
(9th Cir. 2001) (quoting Melancon v. Texaco, Inc.,
659 F.2d 551, 553 (5th Cir. 1981)). The Ninth Circuit's
decision demonstrates that this Court's denial of summary
judgment on plaintiffs state law discrimination claims was
based, in part, on an erroneous determination, Therefore, the
Court finds sufficient cause for this Court to reconsider its
denial of defendants' motion for summary judgment on
plaintiffs state law discrimination claims.
judgement is appropriate if "there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The
moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Id. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (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
324. "Summary judgment is inappropriate if reasonable
jurors, drawing all inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party, could return a verdict in the nonmoving party's
favor." Diaz v. Eagle Produce Ltd. P'ship,
521 F.3d 1201, 1207 (9th Cir. 2008).
is a close identity between discrimination claims brought
under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
and those brought under Oregon's public accommodation
discrimination statute, Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.4O3. Both
require proof of intentional discrimination. To prevail on an
equal protection claim, a plaintiff "must first prove
that the defendants purposefully discriminated against
her" because of her protected status. Lowe v. City
of Monrovia,775 F.2d 998, 1010 (9th Cir. 1985).
Likewise, to prevail on a claim under section §
659A.4O3, a plaintiff must show that the plaintiff "was
treated in an 'unequal' manner because of [a
protected status]" and that "that treatment
resulted in an injury[.]" Allen v. U.S.
Bancorp,264 F.Supp.2d 945, 954 (D. Or. 2003) (quoting
King v. Greyhound Lines,656 P.2d 349, 352 (Or. Ct.
App. 1982)). In its prior Order, this Court determined that
plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence that defendants
had intentionally discriminated against her. Vejo,
204 F.Supp.3d. at 1173. That ...