Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sani v. University of Alabama Board of Trustees

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

August 10, 2017

FRANCIS B. SANI, Plaintiff,



         I. Introduction

         This case is before the court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (Doc. # 17), filed April 14, 2017. The parties have fully briefed the motion (Docs. # 17, 21-23), and it is under submission. After careful review, and for the reasons explained below, the court concludes that Defendant's motion is due to be granted.

         II. Procedural History and Background Facts [1]

         In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff seeks relief for alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). (Doc. # 15 at 1). Defendant has filed this renewed Motion to Dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. # 17).

         Plaintiff's allegations involve his involvement with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, separate university campuses. See Knight v. State of Alabama, 787 F.Supp. 1030, 1126 (N.D. Ala. 1991) (describing UAB's history), aff'd in part & rev'd in part, 14 F.3d 1534 (11th Cir. 1994). Indeed, UAB is separately accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Id. Both UAB and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa are administered by the University of Alabama System's board of trustees. See Vandenberg v. Aramark Educ. Servs., Inc., 81 So.3d 326, 330 n. 5 (Ala. 2011). A professor in the chemistry department at UAB offered to hire Plaintiff to a work-study position in the fall of 2011, but revoked that offer in the spring of 2012. (Doc. # 15 at ¶ 10). Plaintiff alleges that UAB's chemistry department operated under a “de facto discriminatory policy.” (Id. at ¶ 12). Pursuant to this policy, another UAB chemistry professor (i.e., not the one who made and revoked the offer) told Plaintiff that the chemistry department did not hire African Americans. (Id. at ¶ 11).

         At the end of the fall of 2012, Plaintiff applied for admission into a doctoral program at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa (“Alabama”). (Doc. # 15 at ¶ 12). Plaintiff was “essentially wait-listed” by Alabama until an interview was conducted in the spring of 2015.[2](Id.). Plaintiff was interviewed by several professors, including David Nikles. (Id.). Plaintiff alleged that Nikles' wife, a professor at UAB, “disliked” him. (Id.). Nikles mentioned the conflict between his wife and Plaintiff during the interview of Plaintiff. (Id.). In August 2015, Plaintiff was denied admission to the doctoral program at Alabama. (Doc. # 17 at 2). Plaintiff contends that, while he was not at the top of his class, he was a legitimate candidate with adequate grade point average (“GPA”) and Graduate Record Examinations (“GRE”) qualifications. (Id. at ¶ 13). Plaintiff believes that Alabama considered his GPA and GRE scores “immaterial.” (Id.).

         Plaintiff's complaint also alleges that he suffers from a disabling facial deformity. (Id. at ¶¶ 5, 14). His nasal deformity “is of an asymmetrical variety.” (Id. at ¶ 5). Corrective surgery was attempted in 2005, but failed. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he has “faced myriad problems, ” including work-related problems similar to those that occurred at UAB and Alabama. (Id.). Aside from his allegation that he faced problems from his nasal deformity, Plaintiff never connects the problems at UAB or Alabama to that physical characteristic.

         To show that his facial deformity is disabling, Plaintiff references his prior work history in the complaint. Plaintiff was employed by Pizza Hut for approximately three years before October 2012. (Id. at ¶ 6). Plaintiff was employed by Papa John's from April 2014 to April 2016. (Id. at ¶ 7). Plaintiff alleges that Pizza Hut's managers “used employees . . . to assist in keeping the Plaintiff from assisting with in-store customers due to his unsightly facial deformity.” (Id. at ¶ 6). Likewise, managers at Papa John's obstructed him from performing customer service tasks. (Id. at ¶ 7).

         Plaintiff asserts that he was “blacklist[ed]” by the University of Alabama system based on his disabling facial deformity. (Id. at ¶¶ 12, 16). Moreover, he claims that UAB implemented a “racist ideology” that affected Alabama's graduate admissions decision in violation of Title VII. (Id. at ¶ 20).

         III. Standard of Review

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, the complaint must include enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Pleadings that contain nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8 standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely upon “labels and conclusions” or “naked assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations. Id. at 555, 557. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, courts view the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Watts v. Fla Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295 (11th Cir. 2007).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, Plaintiff's complaint must “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 the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although “[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, '” the complaint must demonstrate “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A plausible claim for relief requires “enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” to support the claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         In considering a motion to dismiss, a court should “1) eliminate any allegations in the complaint that are merely legal conclusions; and 2) where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, ‘assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.'” Kivisto v. Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone, PLC, 413 F.Appx. 136, 138 (11th Cir. 2011) (unpublished) (quoting Am. Dental Assn. v. Cigna Corp., 605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010)). That task is context specific and, to survive the motion, the allegations must permit the court based on its “judicial experience and common sense . . . to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. If the court determines that well- pleaded facts, accepted as true, do not state a claim that is plausible, the claims are due to be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         IV. Analysis

         For the reasons explained below, the court concludes that Plaintiff has not plausibly pled any claim for relief against Defendant. Because the court has granted Plaintiff two opportunities ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.