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Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

November 7, 2013, Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California; February 25, 2014, Filed

Nos. 11-17608, 12-15320

Opinion

 [*1239]  GILMAN, Senior Circuit Judge:

Maria Escriba worked in a Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. (Foster Farms) processing plant in  [**3] Turlock, California for 18 years. She was terminated in 2007 for failing to comply with the company's "three day no-show, no-call rule" after the end of a previously approved period of leave, which she took to care for her ailing father in Guatemala. Escriba subsequently filed suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and its California equivalent.

The parties dispute the characterization of Escriba's request for a two-week period of leave. Escriba claims that her termination is an unlawful interference with her rights under the FMLA. Foster Farms responds that, although Escriba provided an FMLA-qualifying reason for taking leave, she explicitly declined to have her time off count as FMLA leave. The district court characterized the case as a classic "he said, she said" matter focused on what Escriba told her supervisors. Escriba's claims therefore proceeded to a jury trial in 2011.

Before Escriba's claims were submitted to the jury, both parties moved for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL). The district court denied Foster Farm's motion and took Escriba's under advisement, pending the jury's determination. After the jury returned a verdict in favor of Foster Farms, Escriba renewed  [**4] her motion for JMOL and requested a new trial. The district court denied both motions.

Foster Farms, as the prevailing party, then moved to tax costs against Escriba. The district court declined to do so.

Both parties have timely appealed the respective adverse rulings against each of them. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court on all issues.

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743 F.3d 1236 *; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3571 **; 164 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P36,206; 97 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P45,026; 22 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 1; 87 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1314; 2014 WL 715547

MARIA ESCRIBA, Plaintiff-Appellant-Cross-Appellee, v. FOSTER POULTRY FARMS, INC., Defendant-Appellee-Cross-Appellant.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D. C. No. 1:09-cv-01878-LJO- MJS. Lawrence J. O'Neill, District Judge, Presiding.

Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6486 (E.D. Cal., Jan. 20, 2012)Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, 793 F. Supp. 2d 1147, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59435 (E.D. Cal., 2011)Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111719 (E.D. Cal., Sept. 29, 2011)

CORE TERMS

district court, costs, rights, vacation, notice, parties, Resources, jury's verdict, two weeks, requesting, reasons, argues, summary judgment, award costs, declining, human resources, paid vacation, vacation time, terminated, legal impossibility, take leave, protections, chilling, renewed, intend, leaves, cases

Labor & Employment Law, Family & Medical Leaves, Scope & Definitions, General Overview, Leaves of Absence, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, Postverdict Judgment, Summary Judgment Review, Appealability, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Employee Leave Requirements, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Affirmative Defenses, Waiver, Governments, Legislation, Statutory Remedies & Rights, Evidence, Relevance, Exclusion of Relevant Evidence, Confusion, Prejudice & Waste of Time, Relevant Evidence, Abuse of Discretion, Jury Trials, Jury Instructions, Costs & Attorney Fees, Costs