Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Goertzen v. Golden

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 11, 2019

NIKLAS GOERTZEN, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES GOLDEN, formerly Superintendent of Sisters School District No. 6, JOSEPH HOSANG, Principal of Sisters High School in Sisters School District No. 6, and GARY HEDIN, formerly Athletic Director/Boys Football Coach at Sisters High School in Sisters School District No. 6, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          Mustafa T. Kasubhai, United States Magistrate Judge

         Pro se Plaintiff filed claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983) and under the "Oregon Constitution Art. 1, Sec[.] 20 (equal privileges and immunities for all citizens)." Compl. 2, ECF No. 1. Defendants move for dismissal of Plaintiff s federal and state law claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to comply with the statute of limitations, claim preclusion, and failure to state a claim. Mot. Dismiss 1, ECF No. 7. For the reasons that follow, this Court should grant Defendants' motion and dismiss Plaintiffs federal claims with prejudice because they are precluded. The Court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs remaining common law claims.

         BACKGROUND

         1. PAST CASES

         Over the last seven years, Plaintiff filed multiple cases in Oregon state court involving the same set of facts at issue here. Defendant's motion to dismiss provides a comprehensive summary of Plaintiff s state court cases and provides context to the current claims. The Court quotes Defendants' summary[1]:

         A. The first case: Niklas Goertzen v. Sisters School District No. 6, Cheryl Stewart, Daniel Stewart, and Lisa Young, Deschutes County Circuit Court Case No. 12CV0950

         In 2012, plaintiff filed his first civil action against the district and three individual defendants, Daniel and Cheryl Stewart, and Lisa Young in Oregon state court. Declaration of Peter R. Mersereau, Exs. 1 (12CV Complaint) & 2 (12CV Docket).l [Defendants' footnote instructs that "[a]ll of the referenced exhibits are attached to the Mersereau declaration.] In that case, plaintiff brought contract and tort claims alleging that he had been improperly terminated from the district's soccer and track coaching positions in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Ex. 1 (12CV Complaint). The individual defendants, one of whom was a district board member, promptly filed a special motion to dismiss plaintiffs complaint under Oregon's Anti-SLAPP statute, ORS 31.150. Exs. 3-5 (12CV Motions to Dismiss and Strike). In February 2013, Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Alta Brady granted defendants' motions to strike. Ex. 6 (12CV Opinion re Motions to Strike). Thereafter, Judge Brady awarded roughly $32, 000 in fees and costs to the moving defendants. A judgment of dismissal with money award in favor of said defendants was then entered in April 2013. Ex. 7 (12CV Supplemental Limited Judgment).

         Thereafter, in order to pursue an appeal from the foregoing judgment, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his claims against the district. Ex. 8 (12CV Motion to Dismiss). A judgment of dismissal in favor of the district was entered on April 22, 2013. Judge Brady's rulings on defendants' special motions to strike and motion to dismiss were affirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeals. Ex. 9 (12CV AWOP #1).

         On August 25, 2015, plaintiff filed a motion under ORCP 71 to vacate the judgment signed and entered by Judge Brady. Ex. 10 (12CV Motion to Vacate). Following briefing and oral argument, that motion was denied by Judge Brady on April 25, 2016. Ex. 11 (12CV Order Denying Motion to Vacate). On May 23, 2016, plaintiff filed a notice of appeal from the court's order denying his motion to vacate. Ex. 12 (12CV Notice of Appeal). Judge Brady's ruling on plaintiffs motion to vacate was affirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeals. Exs. 13 & 14 (12CV AWOP #2).

         B. The second case: Niklas Goertzen v. Sisters School District No. 6, Rob Corrigan, Merry Ann Moore and Does 1-100, Deschutes County Circuit Court Case No. 14CV0061

         Plaintiff commenced the second lawsuit in Oregon state court on January 24, 2014. Exs. 15 (14CV Complaint) & 16 (14CV Docket). Plaintiff initially brought claims against the district and two new individual defendants, Merry Ann Moore and Rob Corrigan. Ex. 15 (14CV Complaint). Once again, plaintiff brought numerous tort and contract claims stemming from the termination of his soccer and track coaching positions in 2011 and 2012. Id.

         i. Claims against the individual defendants

         Once again, the individual defendants in this second case brought special motions to dismiss under the Anti-SLAPP statute. Ex. 17 (14CV Motions to Strike). On July 28, 2014, Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Michael Adler granted the individual defendants' motions. Ex. 18 (14CV Order re Motions to Strike). On August 29, 2014, Judge Adler awarded defendants the sum of $24, 061 in attorney fees. A limited judgment thereon was entered in favor of the individual defendants and against plaintiff on August 29, 2014. Exs. 19 (14CV Order re Fees) & 20 (14CV Limited Judgment). Plaintiff did not take an appeal from that judgment.

         Instead, plaintiff filed a motion to vacate the limited judgment entered in favor of the individual defendants. Ex. 21 (14CV Motion to Vacate). Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Beth Bagley denied that motion to vacate on November 13, 2015. Ex. 22 (14CV Order Denying Motion to Vacate). Thereafter, the individual defendants moved for sanctions against plaintiffs attorney, Marlin Ard, on the basis that the motion to vacate had been improvidently filed under ORCP 17. Ex. 23 (14CV Motion for Sanctions). Judge Bagley granted defendants' motion for sanctions on April 14, 2016, and awarded sanctions against Mr. Ard in the amount of $10, 252.32. Ex. 24 (14CV Opinion re Sanctions) & 25 (Order re Sanctions). In her opinion setting forth her rulings on this matter, Judge Bagley stated that the purpose of plaintiff s motion was "to continue what has been vexatious litigation that is ill-supported by facts or law." Ex. 24 at p. 2 (Opinion re Sanctions). An order and judgment reflecting Judge Bagley's rulings on the sanctions motion was entered on July 14, 2016. Exs. 25 (Order re Sanctions) & 26 (Limited Judgment re Sanctions).

         ii. Claims against the district

         Meanwhile, the district moved for summary judgment against all of plaintiff s claims in the second lawsuit. Ex. 27 (14CV Motion for Summary Judgment). Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Wells Ashby granted the district's motion against the claims for breach of the 2011 soccer contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing regarding the 2011 soccer contract, wrongful discharge, promissory estoppel, and fraud. Ex. 28 (14CV Opinion re Summary Judgment). This ruling left two claims for trial: breach of the 2012 track contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing regarding the 2012 track contract. See Ex. 15 (14CV Complaint). On the date set for trial, plaintiff and the district settled the track claims. See Ex. 16 (14CV Docket). The court entered a general judgment resolving all claims in the second lawsuit on January 30, 2017. Ex. 29 (14CV General Judgment).

         iii. Appeal

         Plaintiff subsequently appealed both judgments in the second lawsuit (the appeal encompassed both Judge Bagley's ruling on plaintiffs motion to vacate and Judge Ashby's decision granting the district's motion for summary judgment on the soccer based claims, the wrongful discharge claim, and the fraud claim). Exs. 30 (14CV Notice of Appeal) & 31 (14CV Notice of Appeal). The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion. Exs. 32 (14CV AWOP #1) & 33 (14CV AWOP #2)[2]. Mot. Dismiss 3-6, ECF No. 7.

         2. PRESENT CASE

         In evaluating the present case, filed in the District Court, the Court notes the following facts. Plaintiff was the girls' soccer coach and the girls' and boys' track coach at Sisters High School from February 2007 until February 2012. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 11, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that in February 2012, Defendants, acting under color of law, "caused Plaintiffs termination from his positions..." Id. at ¶¶ 5, 7. Plaintiff also alleges that he only learned the facts alleged in paragraphs 1-18 of his complaint in 2015 "through discovery in a related matter." Id. at ¶ 18.

         Plaintiffs complaint alleges that "some parents.. .were actively working for [Plaintiffs] termination" prior to Plaintiff being fired. Id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff asserts that one of the parents was Merry Ann Moore, whom he named as a defendant in a previous case. Id.; and see Niklas Goertzen v. Sisters School District No. 6, Rob Corrigan, Merry Ann Moore and Does 1-100, Deschutes County Circuit Court Case No. 14CV0061. Plaintiffs complaint contains multiple references to an "unlawful" survey sent to parents of students, in which Defendants allegedly solicited feedback about Plaintiffs coaching performance. Comp. ¶¶ 4, 15, and see Ex. 5 at ¶ 6. Plaintiffs complaint contains allegations that Defendants held deep personal animosity toward Plaintiff (id. at ¶ 23, 25, 26), that Defendants' emails show that Defendants traded insults about Plaintiff that show they disliked him (id. at ΒΆ 23 (a), (b), ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.