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.

Castellano v. Brigham Young University

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

August 16, 2018

JOSEPH CASTELLANO, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, SCOTT ELKINS, Managing Director of HR, and DAVID TUELLER, Defendants.

          District Judge Jill N. Parrish

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS AMENDED CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, DAVID TUELLER, AND SCOTT ELKINS (ECF NO. 29)

          EVELYN J. FURSE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Defendants Brigham Young University (BYU) and David Tueller move the Court[1]to dismiss pro se Plaintiff Joseph Castellano's Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6). (Mot. to Dismiss Am. Compl. (“Mot.”), ECF No. 29.) BYU and Mr. Tueller argue the ADA and UADA claims against Mr. Tueller and Mr. Elkins fail because they do not qualify as “employers.” (Mot. 1, ECF No. 29.) They also assert that the UADA claim against BYU fails because BYU does not constitute an “employer” under the UADA. (Id. at 2.) Lastly, BYU and Mr. Tueller contend that Mr. Castellano's disability discrimination claim fails to state a claim for disability discrimination. (Id. at 1.) Having reviewed the parties' briefings, the undersigned RECOMMENDS dismissing the discrimination claims against BYU, Mr. Tueller, and Mr. Elkins with prejudice. The Amended Complaint's claims under the UADA fail because the Act does not apply to religious educational institutions. The Amended Complaint also fails to state an ADA discrimination claim against BYU because Mr. Castellano only requested an accommodation and retroactive leniency over three months after his termination. Therefore, the undersigned RECOMMENDS dismissing the discrimination claim against BYU with prejudice. Mr. Castellano asserts no claims that either the UADA or the ADA authorizes against Mr. Tueller or Mr. Elkins. Therefore, the undersigned RECOMMENDS dismissing Mr. Tueller and Mr. Elkins.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On November 29, 2016, Mr. Castellano filed his Complaint asserting violations of the ADA and UADA. (Compl. 4, ECF No. 3.) On January 30, 2017, the BYU Defendants moved to dismiss Ms. Castellano Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which this Court can grant relief. (Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 7.) The District Judge dismissed Mr. Castellano's Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim and granted him thirty days from the issuance of the Court's Order to amend his Complaint. (Order Adopting R&R 2, ECF No. 18.) On December 29, 2017, Mr. Castellano filed the Amended Complaint at issue. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 26.)

         The Court takes “as true all well-pled (that is, plausible, non-conclusory, and non-speculative) facts alleged in plaintiffs' complaint.” Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         Mr. Castellano began working as a chef at BYU around September 2011. (Am. Compl. 2, ECF No. 26.) In July 2014, Mr. Castellano met with Mr. Tueller and another BYU representative who informed him that “they were firing [him] because he did not answer [a] question accurately on the job application that he completed in 2011.” (Id.) Mr. Castellano alleges he misinterpreted the question on the application as a result of his learning disability. (Id. at 3.) Mr. Castellano alleges BYU knew he had a learning disability and fired him “because of his learning disability.” (Id.) In October 2014, Mr. Castellano seems to have requested BYU reconsider his termination in light of his disability. (Id. at 2.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Mr. Castellano proceeds pro se. The Court construes pro se pleadings liberally and holds them to a “less stringent standard.” Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1096 (10th Cir. 2009) (quoting Garrett v. Selby, Connor, Maddux & Janer, 425 F.3d 836, 840 (10th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted)). However, the Court cannot act as an advocate for a pro se litigant, who must comply with the fundamental requirements of the Rules. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1218 (10th Cir. 2007) (“[T]his court has repeatedly insisted that pro se parties follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants.”) (quoting Garrett, 425 F.3d at 840). A pro se plaintiff's claims should survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “despite the plaintiff's failure to cite proper legal authority, his confusion of various legal theories, his poor syntax and sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity with pleading requirements.” Smith, 561 F.3d at 1096 (quoting Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.)

         DISCUSSION

         Mr. Castellano argues that he never asserted claims “under the ADA Act or the Utah Anti-Discrimination Act.” (Mot. to Dismiss Dismissal (“Opp'n”) 1, ECF No. 30.) Later filings suggest Mr. Castellano thinks he is bringing claims under Rules 8 and 10. (Reply Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss Am. Compl. 1, ECF No. 32.) The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide a cause of action. Rather, they state the procedures a party must follow to pursue a cause of action provided by statute or common law in federal court.

         Mr. Castellano contends that he believes BYU fired him because of his learning disability. (Opp'n 1, ECF No. 30.) Mr. Castellano's assertion that the BYU Defendants fired him because of his learning disability directly implicates both the ADA and UADA. Title I of the ADA prohibits certain employers from discriminating against “a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112. Therefore, Mr. Castellano alleges the BYU Defendants violated the ADA because they fired him as a result of his disability. The same holds true for the UADA. The UADA prohibits particular employers from discharging an employee “otherwise qualified” because of his or her disability. Utah Code Ann. § 34A-5-106(1)(a)(i)(H). Thus, Mr. Castellano alleges the BYU Defendants violated the UADA because they allegedly discharged him because of his learning disability.

         A. The UADA Excludes BYU from the Definition of “Employer”

         The UADA prohibits particular discriminatory employment practices by employers. Utah Code Ann. § 34A-5-106(1)(a)(i). Mr. Castellano alleges BYU fired him because of his disability. The UADA prohibits discharging an employee based upon his or her disability. Utah Code Ann. § 34A-5-106(1)(a)(i)(H). However, the UADA expressly exempts “religious educational institution[s]” from the definition of employer. Utah Code Ann. § 34A-5-102(1)(h)(ii)(A). While Mr. Castellano's Amended Complaint does not allege BYU has any religious affiliations, the undersigned takes judicial note of the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “founded, support[s], and guide[s]” BYU. See Mission & Aims of BYU, http://aims.byu.edu/, last visited Aug. 16, 2018 (acknowledging relationship). In considering whether BYU qualifies as “a religious educational institution, ” the undersigned considers the language of the definition of what an “‘Employer'” does not include.” Utah Code Ann. § 34A-5-102(1)(h)(ii). That definition sweeps broadly to exclude all types of employers connected with a religious institution. Therefore, the undersigned concludes BYU falls within that exclusion. Hence, the undersigned RECOMMENDS dismissing Mr. Castellano's UADA claims against BYU with prejudice because amendment would prove futile. See ...


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.