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Schwartz v. Clark County

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 16, 2014

MARK J. SCHWARTZ, Plaintiff(s),
v.
CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA, and JACQUELINE R. HOLLOWAY, Defendant(s)

ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.

Presently before the court is a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Clark County and Jacqueline Holloway. (Doc. #22). The plaintiff, Mark Schwartz, responded in opposition, (doc. #26), the defendants replied, (doc. #29), and the plaintiff filed a supplemental briefing to his opposition, (doc. #40).

The instant case involves claims of (1) discrimination based on the plaintiff's disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and N.R.S. § 613.330; (2) age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") and N.R.S. § 613.330; and (3) violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights by defendant Jacqueline Holloway in her capacity as director of business licensing for Clark County, Nevada, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

I. Legal Standard

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary adjudication when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A principal purpose of summary judgment is "to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis.

When the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact on each issue material to its case.

C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

In contrast, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an essential element of the nonmoving party's case; or (2) by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party's case on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the nonmoving party's evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159-60 (1970).

If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that "the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. P. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987).

In other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts by producing competent evidence that shows a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324.

At summary judgment, a court's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The evidence of the nonmovant is "to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255. But if the evidence of the nonmoving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See id. at 249-50.

II. Background

The plaintiff began his employment with defendant Clark County as an auditor on August 17, 1992. In 2000, the plaintiff was promoted to senior management analyst in the Clark Country Business License Department ("BL"). During his employment he was given positive performance evaluations and was not disciplined by supervisors. It is undisputed that the plaintiff is disabled and that he requested and received an ADA accommodation for his workplace in either 2007 or 2008. During the plaintiff's employment, it is undisputed that ...


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