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Johnson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

June 22, 2017

WAL-MART STORES, INC., et al., Defendants.


         Plaintiff, Pamela T. Johnson, who is proceeding pro se, filed this case on April 26, 2017. She asserts claims against defendants Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., her former employer, and King Management Solutions, the company that manages the apartment complex in which she resides.[1] The case currently is before the court on both defendants' motions to dismiss.[2]


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) permits a party to move to dismiss a complaint for, among other reasons, “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). This rule must be read together with Rule 8(a), which requires that a pleading contain only a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While that pleading standard does not require “detailed factual allegations, ” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 550 (2007), it does demand “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations omitted). As the Supreme Court stated in Iqbal:

A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” [Twombly, 550 U.S., at 555]. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Id., at 557.
To survive a motion to dismiss founded upon Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), [for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id., at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id., at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Ibid. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.'” Id., at 557 (brackets omitted).
Two working principles underlie our decision in Twombly. First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id., at 555 (Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss we must take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, we “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id., at 556. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. 490 F.3d, at 157-158. But where 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.” Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2).
In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.

Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79 (emphasis supplied, second and fourth alterations in original, other alterations supplied).

         “‘Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys' and are liberally construed.” Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998)). “‘Yet even in the case of pro se litigants this leniency does not give a court license to serve as de facto counsel for a party, or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to sustain an action.'” Campbell v. Air Jamaica Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165, 1168-69 (11th Cir. 2014) (quoting GJR Investments, Inc. v. County of Escambia, Fla., 132 F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir.1998)).


         Plaintiff asserts that employees of King Management Solutions (“King”) entered her apartment without permission, and also allowed law enforcement officers to enter the apartment, for the following purposes: causing mold to grow; taking “trinkets”; leaving lights and fans on; planting surveillance cameras; poisoning her toothpaste; emitting dangerous aerosolized gases into the air; putting chemicals in her food; waking her up in the middle of the night; sprinkling “itching powder” on her porch; and marking the walls at eye level. She also asserts that King's employees entered, and allowed law enforcement officials to enter, her automobile for the purposes of tracking her, harassing her, recording her, and removing brake fluid.

         In addition, she asserts that employees of defendant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (“Wal-Mart”) allowed law enforcement officers to stalk and chemically attack her while she was working as a Wal-Mart pharmacist. After mentioning an alleged FBI conspiracy to a Wal-Mart co-worker, plaintiff was placed on a paid six-week leave of absence, and was required to seek psychological treatment and submit to a psychological examination. That experience caused plaintiff's co-workers to verbally harass and attack her by making her feel as though she had done something wrong.

         Plaintiff claims that both defendants have waged “war” on her, and violated a treaty entered into between the United States and the Osage Indian Tribal Nation, of which she is a member. She believes the intent of the harassment she has experienced to be that of causing her to commit suicide.

         Plaintiff also claims that her Wal-Mart supervisor threatened her and her job if she spoke about God in the workplace. She also believes her job was threatened after she lodged a complaint with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.[3]

         Plaintiff asserts that defendants' actions, and the wrongful actions of law enforcement agents that defendants have permitted, have violated her rights under the following provisions of the United States Constitution: Article I, Section 8; Article III, Sections 2 & 3; Article IV, Section 2; and Article VI . She also claims violations of her rights under Amendments I, IV, V, VI, VIII, XI, XIII, and XIV of the Constitution.[4] As relief for those wrongs, plaintiff seeks an injunction stopping all harassment against her on Wal-Mart premises, an injunction stopping all harassment by other Wal-Mart employees (and requiring a letter of apology from everyone who has harassed her), an injunction requiring any supervisory Wal-Mart employees who have been involved in harassing her to be tried for attempted murder, and a total of a trillion dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.[5]

         III. ...

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