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Beckley v. McDonald's USA, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

February 7, 2017

MCDONALD'S USA, LLC; EMERALD MANAGEMENT CORPORATION d/b/a MCDONALD'S, a corporation; Fictitious Defendants A-Z, as more set forth herein whose names are discovered; Defendants.




         This cause is before the court on Defendant McDonald's USA, LLC's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, or Alternatively, Motion for a More Definite Statement. (Doc. # 40). Plaintiff, Betty Beckley (“Beckley”), filed a Second Amended Complaint (“Complaint”) in this case on October 14, 2016.[1] In her Complaint, Beckley alleges that Defendants Emerald Management Corporation (“Emerald”) and McDonald's USA, LLC refused to hire her because of her race and age in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), (Counts 1 and 2, respectively). (Doc. # 30). Beckley also asserts three (3) state law claims, including “Negligent Hiring Training & Supervision” (Count 3), the “Tort of Outrage” (Count 4), and “Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceit” (Count 5). See Id. For reasons to be discussed, McDonald's USA, LLC's Motions to Dismiss and for More Definite Statement are due to be granted.


         The court accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as true, Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), and construes the complaint in the plaintiff's favor, Duke v. Cleland, 5 F.3d 1399, 1402 (11th Cir. 1993). In analyzing the sufficiency of pleading, the court is guided by a two-prong approach: one, the court is not bound to accept conclusory statements of the elements of a cause of action and, two, where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to entitlement to relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” but instead the complaint must contain “only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. The factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), a party may move for a more definite statement when a pleading is “so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response.”

         III. FACTS

         The allegations of the Beckley's Complaint are as follows:

         Beckley is a seventy (70) year-old Caucasian female who sought employment from a McDonald's[2] in Montgomery, Alabama. Before applying, Beckley allegedly spoke with Nicole Daniel, the owner of the McDonald's store, about the prospect of working there. Ms. Daniel allegedly told Beckley that she would be happy to help her get a job.

         On March 19, 2015, Beckley visited the McDonald's store and met with the manager, Clarissa, an African American woman.[3] Clarissa told Beckley that they were hiring and stated that she “need[ed] a pleasant and friendly face on the front.” (Doc. # 30, p. 3, ¶ 8). She told Beckley to “[c]ome back around 4:30 p.m. tomorrow and you can complete an application.” Id.

         Beckley returned the following afternoon, as instructed, and completed an application for employment. Clarissa informed Beckley that she would call her sometime during the next week to set up a time for new employee orientation.

         Nine days later, after having not received a phone call from Clarissa, Beckley returned to the McDonald's store and asked to speak to Clarissa. Clarissa allegedly told Beckley, “I do not believe that you could move fast enough nor work the front order computer.” (Doc. # 30, p. 4-5, ¶ 11). Beckley claims that Clarissa was suggesting that Beckley “was simply too old for the position.” Id. However, after Beckley asked Clarissa for a chance to prove herself, Clarissa apparently had a change of heart and, again, offered Beckley the job. Clarissa told Beckley to come back in two weeks to begin new employee orientation.

         On April 26, 2015, Beckley returned to the McDonald's store for new employee orientation and asked to speak with Clarissa. One of the employees told her that “Clarissa is not in at the moment. [Beckley] then asked to speak to the assistant manager.” (Doc. # 30, p. 4, ¶ 13). Beckley told the assistant manager that she was there to begin new employee orientation and asked the assistant manager if she thought she could “handle” the job. Id. The assistant manager replied, “Of course you can.”

         Beckley then asked the assistant manager to contact Clarissa to confirm her orientation. However, after speaking with Clarissa, the assistant ...

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