United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MARY E. LISENBY, Plaintiff,
LOWNDES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HAROLD ALBRITTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the court on a Motion for Partial Dismissal
filed by Defendant, Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams
(“Sheriff Williams”) (Doc. # 13) and a Motion to
Dismiss filed by Defendants, the Lowndes County Commission,
the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, Lowndes County
Deputy Chris West (“Deputy West”), and Lowndes
County Warden Marc Green (“Warden Green”)
(collectively, the “Defendants”) (Doc. # 15), and
supporting memoranda at law (respectively, Docs. # 14 and
16). Plaintiff filed a response (Doc. # 19) and Defendants
filed replies (Docs. # 21 and 22-1).
Mary Lisenby (“Lisenby”) filed a Complaint in
this case on January 27, 2017, alleging Title VII claims in
two counts against all Defendants for racial/gender
harassment, hostile work environment and
retaliation. For the reasons discussed below, the
Defendants' Motions are due to be GRANTED.
MOTION TO DISMISS
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
allegations of the Plaintiff's Complaint are as follows:
Lisenby, a Caucasian female, began working for the Lowndes
County Sheriff's Department on June 4, 2015 as a Deputy
Sheriff. Sheriff Williams, locally known as “Big
John” Williams, an African-American male, is the
elected sheriff for Lowndes County. Sheriff Williams is the
supervisor for all Lowndes County Sheriff's Department
employees, including, formerly, Lisenby. In addition, Lisenby
was supervised by Defendant Chief West.
August 5, 2016, Lisenby was out on patrol when she made a
routine traffic stop of a citizen who ran a stop sign. After
pulling the citizen over, the citizen exited his vehicle and
approached Lisenby in an “aggressive manner.”
(Doc. 1, p. 3, ¶ 19). Lisenby advised the citizen to
return to his vehicle.
Lisenby approached the citizen's vehicle, the citizen
stated “I know Big John . . . and I am getting him on
the phone.” Lisenby informed the citizen that it did
not matter whether the citizen knew Sheriff Williams, or not.
Nevertheless, the citizen continued trying to make contact
with Sheriff Williams and, eventually, began talking to him
on the phone. Soon thereafter, the citizen handed his phone
over to Lisenby.
Williams ordered Lisenby not to ticket the citizen. Lisenby
responded that she would, at least, give the citizen a
written warning. Sheriff Williams “informed her that
there was to be no traffic enforcement in his county
without his permission, ” and then hung up the
phone. (Doc. # 1, p. 4, ¶ 21) (emphasis added). At that
point, abandoned by her supervisor and stripped of her
authority to give a ticket to the citizen, Lisenby was left
to take further verbal abuse from the citizen.
returned to the Sheriff's Department and was ordered by
her supervisor to draft a written report, detailing the
later, Lisenby was informed that an investigator had been
sent to the citizen's house to obtain a statement about
the incident. However, Lisenby was never advised that she was