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C. Alexandra Telluselle v. Hawaii Pacific University.

August 31, 2012

C. ALEXANDRA TELLUSELLE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barry M. Kurren United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Before the Court is Defendants Hawaii Pacific University ("HPU") and Erleina Danao's Motion For Summary Judgment (Doc. 44). The Court heard this Motion on July 20, 2012. After careful consideration of the Motion, the supporting and opposing memoranda, and the arguments presented at the hearing, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff C. Alexandra Telluselle attended HPU in Fall 2005 to pursue a Certificate in Organizational Change and Development. Although she was only one course shy of receiving the Certificate, she returned to Sweden and did not receive the Certificate. (Defendants' Exs. 1, 2.)

In December 2009, Plaintiff applied to HPU's Master of Arts in Organizational Change ("MAOC"). (Defendants' Ex. 3.) She was accepted into the MAOC Program and, as an international student, she was required to take the Management 6100 course. (Danao Decl'n ¶ 9, Richard Ward Decl'n ¶ 4; Defendants' Ex. 5.)

Plaintiff began attending classes at HPU in February 2010. (Danao Decl'n ¶ 11, Defendants' Ex. 7.) On March 10, 2010, Plaintiff asked Danao, who is the Director of the Center for Graduate and Adult Services for Graduate Advising Services, about whether she could transfer credits from Malmo University in Sweden, where she had taken graduate level courses. (Danao Decl'n ¶ 16.) Danao notified Plaintiff that HPU must receive the official course descriptions and Plaintiff's official transcript from Malmo University before evaluating her request. (Id.) HPU received the course descriptions on March 15, 2010 but did not receive the official transcript until October 19, 2010. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 22.) A week later, Plaintiff was notified that the credits would not be transferred to HPU, but that decision was later reversed and HPU applied nine credits to her MAOC Program. (Id. ¶ 23; Defendants' Ex. 24.) At the same time, Plaintiff stopped attending classes and received "F" grades for all of her Fall 2010 classes. (Danao Decl'n ¶ 28.)

In February 2011, Plaintiff met with Danao to register for Spring 2011 courses. (Id. ¶ 30.) Danao informed Plaintiff that she still owed HPU a balance of $5,680 for her Fall 2010 tuition and that HPU policy prohibited her from registering for Spring 2011 courses until the balance was paid off. (Id.) Plaintiff did not pay the balance of her tuition or her deposit for the Spring 2011 semester by the registration deadline. (Id. ¶ 31.) Because she did not complete the necessary courses for the MAOC Program, she did not receive her degree. (Id. ¶ 33.) Plaintiff has not been a registered student at HPU since January 2011, and she currently has an outstanding balance of $5,680 owed to HPU. (Id. ¶ 32; Deborah Nakashima Decl'n ¶ 5; Defendants' Ex. 27.)

On May 16, 2011, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit against Defendants in state court for negligence, breach of contract, and race or national origin discrimination. On May 26, 2011, Defendants removed the case to federal court. After several attempts by the parties at settling this case, Defendants filed the present Motion for Summary judgment on May 31, 2012.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the undisputed facts warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In assessing whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, courts must resolve all ambiguities and draw all factual inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); see also Cline v. Indus. Maint. Eng'g & Contracting Co., 200 F.3d 1223, 1228 (9th Cir. 2000).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court's function is not to try issues of fact, but rather, it is only to determine whether there are issues to be tried. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. If there is any evidence in the record from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party on a material issue of fact, summary judgment is improper. See T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987).

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiff's ...


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