United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
FRANCIS B. SANI, Plaintiff,
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BOARD OF TRUSTEES, Defendant.
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
Procedural History and Background Facts
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).
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).
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.(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.”
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
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).
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).
Standard of Review
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.
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.
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.
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