United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case is before the Court on Defendant Alabama High School
Athletic Association's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
complaint. (Doc. 8). The motion, which has been fully briefed
and is ripe for resolution, has been referred to the
undersigned for a report and recommendation pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and S.D. Ala. CivLR 72(a)(2)(S).
Upon consideration of all matters presented, the undersigned
RECOMMENDS, for the reasons stated herein, that Defendant
Alabama High School Athletic Association's Motion to
Dismiss be GRANTED.
Fannie King-Brown, proceeding pro se, commenced this
action on May 22, 2017, against the Alabama High School
Athletic Association (hereinafter “AHSAA”) and
Mobile County Public Schools (hereinafter
“MCPS”). (Doc. 1). Ms. King-Brown contends that
Defendants have subjected her to employment discrimination on
the basis of her gender and race, in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,
and the Equal Pay Act. (Id. at 1). According to Ms.
King-Brown, MCPS unlawfully terminated her from her position
as coach of the Murphy High School girls' basketball
team, although her male comparators were not terminated or
removed from their positions for similar infractions. She
further alleges that lesser qualified male comparators
received promotions that were denied to her and that they
received better compensation than her. Additionally, Ms.
King-Brown asserts that AHSAA, in its role as the governing
body for athletics and programs for public schools in the
state of Alabama, acceded to, and ratified, MCPS's
wrongful and discriminatory treatment of her and failed to
investigate her complaints or provide accommodations, as
required by applicable law.
AHSAA filed the instant motion seeking the dismissal of Ms.
King-Brown's complaint. (Doc. 8). Specifically, AHSAA
contends that Ms. King-Brown's complaint should be
dismissed as a matter of law because she was never employed
by AHSAA. (Id. at 2). In support of its position,
AHSAA attached to its motion a copy of the charge that Ms.
King-Brown filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”). (Doc. 8-2). In the charge,
Ms. King-Brown avers that she was hired by MCPSS and
terminated by William Smith, the principal of Murphy High
response in opposition to AHSAA's motion (doc. 13), Ms.
King-Brown acknowledges that she was not employed by AHSAA,
but argues that AHSAA can still be held liable under Title
VII even in the absence of an employment relationship.
(Id. at 1). She does not address her Equal Pay Act
claim in her response.
Standard of Review
preliminary matter, the undersigned observes that when
considering a pro se litigant's allegations, a
court gives them a liberal construction, holding the litigant
to a more lenient standard than those of an attorney.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594,
595-96, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). However, a court does not have
“license . . . to rewrite an otherwise deficient
pleading in order to sustain an action.” GJR
Investments v. County of Escambia, Fla., 132 F.3d 1359,
1369 (11th Cir. 1998), overruled on other grounds by
Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 709 (11th Cir. 2010)
(relying on Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129
S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). In addition, a pro
se litigant “is subject to the relevant law and
rules of court including the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure.” Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d
835, 837 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 863
defendant may move to dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if the plaintiff has failed
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
“When considering a motion to dismiss, all facts set
forth in the plaintiff's complaint ‘are to be
accepted as true and the court limits its consideration to
the pleadings and exhibits attached thereto.'”
Grossman v. Nationsbank, N.A., 225 F.3d 1228, 1231
(11th Cir. 2000) (quoting GSW, Inc. v. Long County,
999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th Cir. 1993)). All “reasonable
inferences” are drawn in favor of the plaintiff.
St. George v. Pinellas County, 285 F.3d 1334, 1337
(11th Cir. 2002). However, the court is not required to
accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (noting that “the tenet that a court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”).
12(b)(6) is read in light of Rule 8(a)(2), which requires
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to
“‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555,
127 S.Ct. 1955, 157 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80
(1957)). In Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated that
although Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does
not require detailed factual allegations, it does demand
“more than an unadorned,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint must state a
plausible claim for relief, which occurs “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. The mere
possibility the defendant acted unlawfully is insufficient to
survive a motion to dismiss. Id. The well-pled
allegations must nudge the claim “across the line from
conceivable to plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570. “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
a court reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is
limited to the four corners of the complaint. See Bickley
v. Caremark RX, Inc., 461 F.3d 1325, 1329 n. 7 (11th
Cir. 2006). If, however, the complaint refers to documents
that are central to the case, those documents may be
considered part of the pleadings. See Jordan v.
Miami-Dade County, 439 F.Supp.2d 1237, 1240 (S.D. Fla.
2006). Similarly, courts may consider any document attached
to a motion to dismiss without treating the motion as one for
summary judgment so long as the plaintiff has referred to the
document in its complaint, the document is
“central” to the claims, and the authenticity of
the document is unchallenged. See Bickley, 461 F.3d
at 1329 n. 7; Day v. Taylor, 400 F.3d 1272, 1276
(11th Cir. 2005) ((citing Harris v. Ivax Corp., 182
F.3d 799, 802 n. 2 (11th Cir. 1999)).
context of employment discrimination cases, courts routinely
consider the EEOC charge when reviewing a motion to dismiss.
Chestnut v. Ethan Allen Retail, Inc., 2013 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 135346 at *3, 2013 WL 5290123 (N.D.Ga. Sept. 20,
2013); Nixon v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 2013 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 180129, 2013 WL 6815719 (M.D. Ga. Dec. 24, 2013).
While Ms. King-Brown did not file a copy of her EEOC charge
in this case, and did not reference the charge in her
complaint, the Court finds that the charge is central to her
case given that a plaintiff must timely file a charge with
the EEOC in order to proceed on a claim under Title VII.
See Wilkerson v. Grinnell Corp., 270 F.3d 1314, 1317
(llth Cir. 2001). Further, she has not challenged the
authenticity of the charge. Therefore, the Court may consider
the EEOC charge submitted by AHSAA without converting its
motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment under
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
noted, Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claim on
the basis that it did not employ Ms. King-Brown and, thus,
cannot be held liable for her claims ...