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Reynolds v. Brennan

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

July 14, 2015

MEGAN BRENNAN, [1] United States Postmaster General Defendant.


KATHERINE P. NELSON, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement (Doc. 19) brought under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) and 12(e). The Plaintiff, Patricia A. Reynolds, has timely filed a response in opposition (Doc. 23). The motion is now under submission and is ripe for adjudication. See Doc. 21. The present motion has been referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for entry of a report and recommendation under 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1)(B)-(C) and FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b)(1). Upon consideration, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19) be DENIED and the Defendant's Alternative Motion for a More Definite Statement (Doc. 19) be GRANTED.[2]

I. Applicable Legal Standards

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, " the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, "accepting all well-pleaded facts that are alleged therein to be true." Miyahira v., Inc., 715 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing Bickley v. Caremark RX, Inc., 461 F.3d 1325, 1328 (11th Cir. 2006)). "To survive... a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."'" Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007))). "The plausibility standard calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence' of the defendant's liability." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but [rather] asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendants liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 (internal citations omitted). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, quoting in part FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2).

Under Rule 12(e), "[a] party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response. The motion must be made before filing a responsive pleading and must point out the defects complained of and the details desired." Whether to grant relief under Rule 12(e) is left to the Court's discretion. See Porter v. Duval Cnty. Sch. Bd., 406 F.App'x 460, 461 (11th Cir. 2010) (per curiam) (unpublished) ("We review for abuse of discretion a district court's grant of a motion for a more definite statement." (citing Mitchell v. E-Z Way Towers, Inc., 269 F.2d 126, 131 (5th Cir. 1959)).

II. Background

Plaintiff initiated this action on May 27, 2014, by filing a Complaint with the Court alleging a discrimination claim against the Postmaster General. See Doc. 1. It is unclear from the face of the Complaint what basis she alleges she was discriminated on. Id. The Court ordered that the Plaintiff file a supplement to her original Complaint "that clearly states the basis for the discrimination she alleges." Doc. 3 at 3. The Plaintiff responded to this Order with miscellaneous documents, but still failed to allege a plain basis for discrimination. See Docs. 5, 6. The following factual allegations[3] concerning the Plaintiff's employment with the United States Postal Service are accepted as true for purposes of the present motion:[4]

[Plaintiff] filed an EEOC discrimination claim against the U.S. Postal Service because they promoted 16 people over me during my 26 years of working at the post office in Atmore, Alabama. They knew that I wanted to be a Supervisor from the time that it was asked when I was hired in 1986. I was told that I would always be the next in line but was always overlooked and someone else was chosen. People were chosen from other offices and the office here. Carriers that I trained to carry mail so I could be trained as Supervisor were later chosen as Supervisor over me. I was told that I was not hired to be a Supervisor, I was hired to carry mail but all the other carriers could be trained to be Supervisors and they could also be carriers. Doc. 1 at 1-2.
Mrs. Hayes was Postmaster when I was hired.... I worked for 9 months and only missed 4 hours of work because I became sick at work with the flu.... After finishing my 9 months she walked me out the Post Office and told me that the Post Office did not need any more people like me there because one was enough (David McCants, he was the only other black in the office). I did tell Wendell Middleton, who was shop steward at the time and he told her she could not fire me because a dog bit me. Doc. 23 at 2.
Rudy Blystrock hired me on August 31, 1986 as a Clerk/Carrier.... It was during this time that Mr. Blystrock stated that anyone who wanted to [] move up in the Post Office, put it in writing and have a clerk stamp it and it into him and they will be trained. At that time only Patricia Stone and myself wrote out our wish to be trained. She began her training immediately because she was hired two months before me.... Id.
Gary Vincent came in as supervisor from the Brewton office and Patricia Stone was still being trained.... All during the time I was still doing clerk work and carrying mail and continuously asking to get some of the training.... Id.
Alfonse Russell came in as Supervisor after Gary Vincent left and [Plaintiff] asked the same question again about being trained as Supervisor. He told me that I needed other training and education to get trained and I didn't really know where this was coming. Patricia Stone was not told any of that.... Then I decided I would asked Mr. Russell what kind of training that I needed and he said that I needed to know all the aspects of the Postal Facility. I told him Patricia Stone didn't have to do this and he told me that her situation was different. I was never told what the difference was. I transferred into Mobile and started training with Billy Spence (deceased). I went through all the training there in Mobile, Mail Handler, LSM Operator, Flat Sorter OCR and BCS machines, OJT training. I also took all the Postal Courses that were offered in PEDC either before I started my shift or after my shift was over. This was while I was still going to college. I returned to Atmore after I was accepted into the University of Mobile. I had some courses to finish and I went to Faulkner Community College and obtain[ed] my AA in Liberal Arts. I started the University of Mobile the following January 1992 and finished in 1994. Id. at 2-3.
When I returned to Atmore, Betty Coker was Supervisor.... I asked her if I could used her 991 [Application for Promotion or Assignment] as a model to put one in for a Supervisor position. She allowed me to use it. I find that she was a letter carrier and had limited training in any area and no college but did some training in other areas. I took my 991 to several other Postmasters and asked them to go over it and help me to correct it. All of them thought that I had a very good 991 and didn't need any correction. I sent in several 991 job vacancies and never heard anything from them.... I found out later that the Postmaster and the supervisor had to fill out their recommendation for you to get into the program and not one of them filled out the paperwork for me. Id. at 3.
Jim Hoobler came in as Postmaster and Jeff Daniels as Supervisor. Again I asked to be trained as Supervisor. This is ten years of begging to be trained as Supervisor. As soon as a new clerk (PTF) came in within a year that person was being trained as supervisor. As soon as I would say something about asking or that I have been asking to be trained, I was told that a letter [carrier] cannot be a Supervisor, it was against policy... Then I learned that he [Hoobler] and the Supervisor had carried mail. I asked him again what was the reason that I couldn't be trained and then I was called names (Nigger), stupid, uneducated. I was belittled on every hand. I was told I would never sit behind that desk as long as he was Postmaster in that office.... Mr. Hoobler and Jeff Daniels made my life miserable. I was constantly being written up and after I filed the EEOC charges against them it got worst. Mr. Hoobler accused me of wrecking every [delivery vehicle] in the office. I was constantly being watched and written up. I kept putting in 991 for vacancies and never hearing back from Birmingham.... I was bitten [by] a bull dog and I was written up for that. Three pit bulls broke [] loose from their chains and... I had to climb up on top of the jeep to get away from them. I was written up for that. I stepped into a hold on Brown Street that I didn't know was there and... I was put in a boot and on crutches. I was placed on light duty, no standing. Mr. Hoobler had me standing and cleaning a supply closet. Then I had to ...

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