United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. KALLON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Holden, proceeding pro se, brings this action under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e
et seq. (“Title VII”), and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 621 et seq. (“ADEA”). Doc.
1. Before the court are the City of Madison’s motion to
dismiss, doc. 17, Troy Trulock’s motion to dismiss,
doc. 22, and Ralph Cobb’s motion to dismiss, doc.
All motions are fully briefed, docs. 18, 20, 24, 25, 26, 29,
30, 31, and ripe for review. Because Holden’s claims
for conduct occurring prior to December 2015 are barred by
res judicata and due to his failure to timely file an EEOC
charge for the rest of his claims, all three motions are due
to be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
“[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not
require ‘detailed factual allegations,’ but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). Mere “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” are insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.’” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 557).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal when a
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted). A complaint states a facially
plausible claim for relief “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. (citation omitted). The
complaint must establish “more than a sheer possibility
that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.;
see also Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555
(“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”). Ultimately,
this inquiry is a “context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
because the Plaintiff is pro se, the court must construe the
complaint more liberally than it would pleadings drafted by
lawyers. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980).
“Pro se pleading are held to a less stringent
standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will,
therefore, be liberally construed.” Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006).
the second lawsuit Holden has filed challenging his treatment
by his employer. Briefly, Holden, an African American who is
over the age of 40, is employed by the City as a firefighter
for the Madison Fire Department (“MFD”). Doc. 1
at 1, 3, 5, 8. He contends that he has faced race- and
age-based discrimination throughout his employment.
Id. at 8-9. Allegedly, multiple MFD employees,
including Defendant Cobb, a department chief, have made
inappropriate jokes using or alluding to racial slurs in
Holden’s presence. Id. In addition to the
slurs, the Defendants have purportedly also discriminated
against Holden in the terms and conditions of his employment.
For example, in 2001, Holden received a promotion with no
annual raise, while two white employees who had
unsuccessfully applied for the same promotion received annual
raises. Id. at 8. In 2006, a MFD captain recommended
Holden for a promotion to captain, but the MFD did not
promote Holden and subsequently revised the guidelines for
the position such that Holden no longer qualified for a
promotion to captain. Id.
2015, an MFD captain singled Holden out for criticism
following a meeting. Id. When Holden attempted to
report this incident, the Human Resources department told him
it was too busy to address his complaint. Id. at
8-9. Finally, on December 16, 2015, Cobb held a meeting of
MFD employees, all of whom were white and under forty, where
he instructed them not to listen to older employees and made
other remarks disparaging older employees. Id. at 9;
see doc. 1-1 at 3.
filing multiple complaints with the Human Resources
department concerning racially discriminatory acts to no
avail, Holden enlisted the help of the NAACP, which
unsuccessfully tried to meet with Defendant Trulock, who was
the City of Madison’s mayor at the time, and the Human
Resources department. Doc. 1 at 9. Perhaps because
of this failure to meet with him or the NAACP, on July 27,
2016, Holden filed an EEOC charge alleging race- and
age-based discrimination and a hostile work environment.
Id. at 6. He filed this lawsuit after obtaining a
right to sue letter. Id.
asserts claims of failure to promote, disparate treatment,
and hostile work environment under Title VII and the ADEA
against all Defendants. Doc. 1 at 3-4. The City, Trulock, and
Cobb have all moved to dismiss. The court addresses each
motion in turn.
The City’s Motion to Dismiss
City seeks dismissal on the grounds of administrative
preclusion, res judicata, Holden’s failure to submit a
timely EEOC charge, and Holden’s failure to state a
cognizable claim. Doc. 18. Because the res judicata and
timeliness grounds are sufficient ...