The City is pleased to announce that on January 19, 2022, the United States District Court issued an Order Dismissing the First Amended Complaint filed against the City of Culver City (City) by the Southern California Hospital at Culver City (SCHCC), in which SCHCC challenged the legality of the June 14, 2021 Premium Hazard Pay Ordinance for hospital workers (Ordinance) adopted by the City Council. The Ordinance was adopted to compensate essential hospital workers for their daily sacrifices and the ongoing risks and burdens they face while providing vital services to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ordinance required SCHCC to pay five dollars an hour additional compensation to certain hospital front line workers for 120 days beginning July 14, 2021.
Culver City Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee stated, “The rejection of this case is a confirmation of the sacrifice borne by essential workers in grocery stores, hospitals and elsewhere during this pandemic, a sacrifice that they continue to make, as we collectively attempt to maneuver through the changing conditions of this pandemic. I am proud that our City had the courage to recognize the danger that these individuals face in their jobs each day and bravery that they have exhibited as a result.”
Background of Litigation
SCHCC originally sued the City in the District Court on June 22, 2021, alleging 11 different causes of action, claiming that the City’s Ordinance was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, and was a violation of a number of provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including, among others, the Equal Protection Clause, Contracts Clause, and provisions guaranteeing Due Process. SCHCC also filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in June 2022, in an attempt to prevent the Ordinance from going into effect. That motion was denied by the Court on July 23, 2021.
The City filed a Motion to Dismiss the original complaint, but before the motion was heard by the Court, SCHCC filed its First Amended Complaint. The City again filed a Motion to Dismiss, and oral argument was held on October 25, 2021. On the same date, the Court heard argument on the Motion to Stay the District Court case filed by SCHCC, while it appealed the denial of its motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Court eventually issued its ruling on the City’s Motion to Dismiss and SCHCC’s Motion to Stay on January 19th, dismissing all 11 claims against the City and denying the Motion to Stay. The Court further opined that “the Court doubts that SCHCC can plead additional facts necessary to support the dismissed claims. Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, and given the Ninth Circuit policy of granted leave to amend with “extreme liberality,” [internal quotations omitted] the court gives SCHCC leave to amend.”
At this time, it is unknown if SCHCC will file a Second Amended Complaint. The City will continue to monitor this case for any further action that might be required.