United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
JAMES E. GUYTON, Plaintiff,
DR. RAY L. WATTS, President, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the court on the motions to dismiss filed by
the defendants, Dr. Ray Watts, President of the University of
Alabama at Birmingham ("Dr. Watts") (Doc. 6), and
The Board of Trustees of the University of
Alabama ("the Board"). (Doc. 15). For
the reasons that follow, Dr. Watts will be dismissed, and all
claims against the Board, with the exception of
Plaintiff's Title VII claims, will be dismissed as well.
PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND RELEVANT FACTS
Guyton ("Plaintiff") filed his initial complaint on
July 1, 2016, naming only Dr. Watts as a defendant. (Doc. 1).
Dr. Watts moved to dismiss under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 6).
In his motion to dismiss, Dr. Watts argues he is immune from
suit under the ADEA because individuals may not be sued for
violations of that statute (Doc. 6 at ¶¶ 12-13) and
he is immune from any § 1983 claim because, under the
Eleventh Amendment, state officials sued for damages in their
official capacity are immune from suit in federal court (Doc.
6 at ¶¶ 19-20) (citing Jackson v. Ga.
Dep't. of Transportation, 16 F.3d 1573, 1575 (11th
Cir. 1994). Dr. Watts further asserts the complaint is due to
be dismissed for failure to state a claim because it is a
shotgun pleading and it fails to allege facts which permit an
inference Dr. Watts is liable under any theory of recovery.
did not respond to the substance of Dr. Watts's motion to
dismiss; instead, he filed an amended complaint (the
"Complaint"). (Doc. 11). Plaintiff amended his
claims to specify that he seeks to sue for violations of
Title VII, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42
U.S.C. § 1981, "by and through 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment." (Id. at
1-2). Plaintiff also named UAB as a defendant.
(Id.). The Board, stating that it was incorrectly
named, moved to dismiss on its own behalf. (Doc. 15).
alleges the following regarding his employment and
termination. Plaintiff is an African-American male at least
forty years old. (Doc. 11 at 3). He was employed in the
Facilities Planning, Design, and Construction Division of the
University of Alabama at Birmingham from August 1998 until
his termination in July 2013. (Id. at 3, 4).
Plaintiff was approved for personal leave from August 31,
2011 until September 2, 2011. (Id. at 4).
about August 30, 2011, Plaintiff received an email from Jim
James, Assistant Vice President of Facilities Planning,
Design, and Construction, informing him he could not take off
the days that had previously been approved because James was
concerned about Plaintiff being gone from the office right
before a project bid. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff informed
James he had arranged to manage the work remotely by email
and phone, which was typical when he or other employees took
leave. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges the other employees
who were approved for this kind of arrangement were all
white. (Id.). Plaintiff also pointed out he had
already spent money in anticipation of his leave time and
could not change his plans. (Id.).
about September 27, 2011, Plaintiff was notified he was being
reprimanded and placed on probation. (Id.).
Afterward, James reduced Plaintiff's work assignments and
gave them to a white female instead. (Id. at 5-6).
Based on the decreased workload, James gave Plaintiff
negative evaluations which affected Plaintiff's
performance rating and compensation. (Id. at 6).
about March 1, 2012, Plaintiff filed a charge of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. (Id.; see also Doc. 1-1).
Sometime during June 2013, the Executive Director of
Facilities Administration, Tyrone Quatules, questioned
Plaintiff about a recently completed construction project
which Plaintiff oversaw. (Doc. 11 at 6). After some weeks of
communication regarding the project, Plaintiff was terminated
on July 30, 2013. (Id.). On or about January 13,
2014, Plaintiff filed a charge of retaliation with the EEOC.
(Id.; see also Doc. 1-1).
asserts five causes of action against Dr. Watts and the Board
pursuant to: 42 U.S.C. §2000e ("Title VII");
29 U.S.C. § 621 (the "ADEA"); and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 by and through 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 11 at
6-9). Count One asserts a claim of race discrimination in
violation of Title VII and § 1981. (Id. at
¶¶ 17-18). Count Two asserts a claim of gender
discrimination in violation of Title VII and § 1981.
(Id. at 19-20). Count Three asserts a claim of age
discrimination in violation of the ADEA and § 1981.
(Id. at 21-22). Count Four asserts a claim of
retaliation for engaging in protected activities in violation
of Title VII, the ADEA, and § 1981. (Id. at
¶¶ 23-24). Count Five asserts a claim of a hostile
work environment in violation of Title VII, the ADEA, and
§ 1981. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(1) are asserted on either facial or factual
grounds. Carmichael v. Kellogg, Brown & Root Svcs.,
Inc. 572 F.3d 1271, 1279 (11th Cir. 2009) (citing
Morrison v. Amway Corp., 323 F.3d 920, 925 n.5 (11th
Cir. 2003)). Facial challenges are based solely on the
allegations in the complaint, and as with a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept the
complaint's allegations as true. Id.
ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6), the court must accept the factual allegations set
forth in the complaint as true. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Swierkiewicz v.
Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1, (2002); see also
Lotierzo v. Woman's World Med. Ctr., Inc., 278 F.3d
1180, 1182 (11th Cir. 2002). In addition, all reasonable
inferences should be drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See
Omar ex. rel. Cannon v. Lindsey, 334 F.3d 1246, 1247
(11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam).
the plaintiff must still meet some minimal pleading
requirements. Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomm., 372
F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).
Indeed, while "[s]pecific facts are not necessary[,
]" the complaint should " 'give the defendant
fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per
curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, the plaintiff must allege
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows ...