Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division One

December 21, 2017, Opinion Filed

A147516

Opinion

 [**293] HUMES, P. J.—Plaintiff Ketryn Cornell is a severely obese woman who was fired from the Berkeley Tennis Club (Club) after having worked there for over 15 years. She brought eight claims against the Club: three under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA; Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.), for disability discrimination and failure to accommodate her disability (the discrimination/failure to accommodate claim), disability harassment, and retaliation; three  [**294]  for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, based on her three FEHA claims; one for intentional infliction of emotional distress; and one for defamation. She appeals from a final judgment entered after the trial court granted the Club's motion for summary adjudication of all eight claims.1

We affirm in part and reverse in part. Under the law governing motions for summary adjudication, the Club had the initial [***2]  burden to produce evidence that Cornell cannot establish at least one element of each claim. The Club failed to sustain this burden on the claims requiring Cornell to show that her obesity has a physiological cause. We therefore conclude that the trial court improperly granted summary adjudication of the FEHA claims alleging that the Club discriminated against and harassed Cornell and the claim alleging that the Club terminated her in violation of public policy based on the FEHA discrimination claim. We also conclude, however, that the court properly granted summary adjudication of the FEHA claims alleging that the Club failed to accommodate Cornell's disability and retaliated against her and the claims alleging that the Club terminated her in violation of public policy based on the FEHA harassment and retaliation claims. Finally, we conclude that the court properly granted summary adjudication of the claim alleging that the Club intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Cornell but that a triable issue of material fact remains on the claim alleging that she was defamed.

 [*919] 

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

18 Cal. App. 5th 908 *; 227 Cal. Rptr. 3d 286 **; 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 1147 ***; 33 Am. Disabilities Cas. (BNA) 1482

KETRYN CORNELL, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. BERKELEY TENNIS CLUB, Defendant and Respondent.

Prior History:  [***1] Superior Court of Alameda County, No. RG-14-724804, Brenda Fay Harbin-Forte, Judge.

CORE TERMS

disability, obesity, accommodate, harassment, physiological, termination, retaliation, genetic, triable, planted, discriminatory, interrogatories, emotional, distress, malice, shirts, infliction, italics, defamation, deposition, Personnel, cleaning, animus, ballroom, clarified, hearsay, staff, hired, disability-based, defamatory

Civil Procedure, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Partial Summary Judgment, Evidentiary Considerations, Absence of Essential Element, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Business & Corporate Compliance, Discrimination, Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Disability Discrimination, Labor & Employment Law, Evidence, Burden Shifting, Disability Discrimination, Reasonable Accommodations, Scope & Definitions, Discriminatory Conduct, Harassment, Disabilities Under ADA, Mental & Physical Impairments, Mental & Physical Impairments, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Disabilities Under ADA, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Interrogatories, Disparate Treatment, Circumstantial & Direct Evidence, Regarded With Impairments, Actionable Discrimination, Retaliation, Burdens of Proof, Elements, Legislation, Effect & Operation, Amendments, Statutory Application, Prospective Operation, Retrospective Operation, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy, Torts, Intentional Torts, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Defamation, Defenses, Privileges, Absolute Privileges, Statutory Privileges, Qualified Privileges, Evidence, Statements as Evidence, Hearsay, Hearsay Within Hearsay, Public Figures, Actual Malice