of 25
Current View
Filed 4/9/13
Mendez
v. Los
A
ngeles Unified School
D
ist. CA2/4
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS
California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for
publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b).
This opinion has not been certified for publication
or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT
DIVISION FOUR
ELVIRA TAPIA MENDEZ,
Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
LOS
ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL
DISTRICT et al.,
Defendants and Respondents.
B240919
(Los Angeles County
Super. Ct. No. BC457248)
APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County,
John L. Segal, Judge. Affirmed.
Daniel
J. Koes for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Gutierrez, Preciado & House and Calvin House for Defendants and
Respondents.
2
Elvira Tapia Mendez appeals from a summary judgment in favor of
respondents Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Marcia Koff, th
e
principal of the school where Mendez worked. Mendez argues that there are
triable issues of fact whether she was laid off in retaliation for complaining that
Koff assaulted her. She also argues that whether Koff intended to injure her
presents a triabl
e issue of fact for purposes of the workers compensation
exclusivity rule. We disagree and affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY
Mendez was intermittently employed by the LAUSD between December
1998 and November 2010. Initially, she was a teacher‟s ass
istant, then a clerk. In
2002, she became an office assistant. After a self
-
initiated break in service
beginning in April 2003, she was reinstated as an office technician at the end of
2005. She again resigned in April 2006 and was reinstated as an offi
ce technician
in April 2007.
Upon her reinstatement in 2007, Mendez worked at Encino Elementary
School until she was laid off in November 2010. She was an office technician
assigned to special education services. Bette Kaplan was the school‟s principa
l
until June 2010. In April 2010, Superintendent of Schools Ramon Cortines sent
out a reduction in force (RIF) memorandum, which stated that “school
-
based cuts
must be submitted by April 30th (in the budget tool) and remain unchanged after
that date. Pri
ncipals should contact their Fiscal Specialist for information on the
budget tool.” Kaplan prepared the school budget for the 2010
-
2011 year in
coordination with an LAUSD fiscal specialist. Mendez‟s position was funded, and
her name did not appear on the
budget tool, which listed the positions that were
eliminated, changed in basis, or reduced in hours.
3
In July or August 2010, the list of affected positions was sent to the
Personnel Commission, the neutral entity of the LAUSD that administers the RIF
p
rocess for classified staff according to the collective bargaining agreement and
Education Code section 45308. That section provides in pertinent part:
“Whenever a classified employee is laid off, the order of layoff within the class
shall be determined
by length of service.” Accordingly, the RIF process allows the
most senior person in a classification whose position is affected to bump out the
least senior person in a classification. The process repeats for each affected
position, and as a result thos
e with greater seniority in a classification are
reassigned to other locations, and those with lesser seniority are laid off. In 2010,
the seniority system was automated, but results also were cross
-
checked manually.
On August 20, 2010, LAUSD Interim Per
sonnel Director Ann Young Havens
issued an update, advising that school
-
based cuts had been placed in the budget
tool, the RIF process would be administered according to seniority and bumping
rights, and those laid off would receive 45
-
day notices in the f
all.
Also in August 2010, Koff became the Encino Elementary School principal.
During a meeting in August or early September 2010, Koff told Mendez and other
staff members that, to protect student privacy, parents should not be allowed to
view staff comp
uter screens. On September 15, 2010, Koff saw Mendez talking to
a parent at her desk behind the counter dividing the walkway from the desk area.
Koff told the parent to move to the counter. The parent attempted to explain the
subject of her conversation
with Mendez, but Koff insisted that she move away
from Mendez‟s desk. Koff then pulled Mendez out of her chair by her shoulders,
grabbed her left arm, and dragged her to the counter. Mendez felt a sharp pain in
her upper left arm. During the incident,
Koff told Mendez: “I told you not to