Mitchell C. Motu Wins MSJ for U.S. Bank

Facts: On May 13, 2021, Plaintiff entered a U.S. Bank Branch located in Los Angeles, California attempting to perform a large wire-transfer at 3:53 p.m. Due to COVID-19, the branch was understaffed and only one of the two tellers on duty were capable of performing said wire transfer. This teller was assisting another customer when Plaintiff arrived and was somewhat overwhelmed with the other administrative tasks he still had to complete before closing at 5:15 p.m. Because of this, the teller suggested that Plaintiff go to a nearby branch for immediate assistance, or wait until he completed said tasks.

Plaintiff alleged that the teller prioritized his back office work over him because of his race, claiming intentional discrimination under the Unruh Act and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

Strategy: Mitch Motu prevailed initially on a motion to strike punitive damages alleged in the Complaint in order to limit potential exposure. The goal then shifted to telling the human side of the story. The teller here was harboring no racial animus whatsoever – he was simply a younger employee having trouble with time-management. Mitch Motu relied on the video evidence, along with key deposition testimony he gathered during discovery, to effectively communicate this story to the Court.

Outcome: The Court granted U.S. Bank’s Motion for Summary Judgment — heavily relying on the case law, video evidence, and deposition testimony cultivated throughout the case by Mitch Motu.