United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 8)
filed by Defendant Appleton Plus People Corporation
(“Appleton”) and the Motion to Strike also filed
by Defendant Appleton (Doc. # 27). The parties have fully
briefed the Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. # 8-9, 22, 25).
Defendant Appleton requested a Motion to Strike (Doc. # 27)
the August 4, 2017 response (Doc. # 26) submitted by
Defendant Hoover City Board of Education
(“Hoover”). For the reasons explained below, both
motions (Docs. # 8, 27) are due to be denied.
Procedural Background and Relevant Facts
claims that Defendants Appleton and Hoover, acting as joint
employers, intentionally discriminated against her on the
basis of her gender and her pregnancy in violation of Title
VII. (Doc. # 1). Defendant Appleton, an Alabama corporation
that provides teachers, teachers' aids, and substitutes
to Hoover schools, placed Plaintiff in Green Valley
Elementary School, a Hoover school, as a special education
aid for the 2015 through 2016 school year. (See Id.
at ¶¶ 4, 14-15). According to Plaintiff, Hoover had
the authority to interview and reject Appleton employees
before placement in its schools, to terminate any Appleton
employee placed within its schools, and to require Appleton
to remove or replace its employees placed within its schools.
(See Id. at ¶ 17).
alleges that she told Green Valley Elementary School
Principal Jeff Singer (“Singer”) that she was
pregnant during the last week of August 2015. (See
id. at ¶ 21). At some later date, Plaintiff
contends that she assured Singer that her pregnancy would not
interfere with her duties and Singer responded that he was
concerned about her pregnancy because of “the type of
kids” with which Plaintiff worked. (See Id. at
to the complaint, on October 19, 2015, Teresa Huntley
(“Huntley”) from Appleton called Plaintiff and
informed Plaintiff that she was no longer to work at Green
Valley Elementary School. (See Id. at ¶ 26).
Allegedly, Huntley told Plaintiff that her termination was
due to her pregnancy and, because of her pregnancy, Singer
requested that Plaintiff be let go. (See Id. at
¶ 26-27). Plaintiff asserts that she was replaced by a
male aide following her termination. (See Id. at
November 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed charges of discrimination
with the EEOC against both Appleton and Green Valley
Elementary School, alleging that both parties discriminated
against her in violation of Title VII. (Doc. # 1, Ex. A).
Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC on
February 13, 2017, allowing her to proceed against Defendant
Appleton. (Doc. # 1, Ex. B). Plaintiff received a Notice of
Right to Sue from the U.S. Department of Justice on March 3,
2017, allowing her to proceed against Defendant Hoover. (Doc.
# 1, Ex. C).
filed a complaint against Defendants Appleton and Hoover on
May 11, 2017. (Doc. # 1). Defendant Hoover answered
Plaintiff's complaint on June 9, 2017. (Doc. # 7).
Defendant Appleton motioned to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) on
June 12, 2017. (Docs. # 8, 9).
August 4, 2017, after the parties had fully briefed Defendant
Appleton's Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Hoover responded
“to filings in support of and opposition to
Appleton's motion to dismiss.” (Doc. # 26).
Defendant Appleton responded to Defendant Hoover's
response on August 14, 2017 and asked this court to strike
Defendant Hoover's response as untimely and improper.
(Doc. # 27 at 1). On August 16, 2017, Defendant Hoover
responded to Defendant Appleton's Motion to Strike,
explaining that its previous filing (Doc. # 26) was intended
to preserve Hoover's legal position. (Doc. # 28).
Discovery has been stayed pending the resolution of Defendant
Appleton's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 8). (Doc. # 21).
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, a 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. App'x 136, 138
(11th Cir. 2011) (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.
Analysis of Defendant Appleton's ...