Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Thomas v. Nucor Steel Birmingham Inc.

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

June 7, 2018

JASON THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
NUCOR STEEL BIRMINGHAM, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss or, Alternatively, Motion for More Definite Statement (Doc. # 3) filed by Defendant Nucor Steel Birmingham Inc. (“Nucor” or “Defendant”). The parties have fully briefed the Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. # 3, 6, 7). For the reasons explained below, the Motion to Dismiss (Docs. # 3) is due to be granted in part and denied in part. With respect to those claims that are not subject to dismissal, the Motion for More Definite Statement (Doc. # 3) is due to be granted.

         I. Background[1]

         On January 1, 2012, Plaintiff began his employment with Nucor as a day shop mechanic in the Rolling Mill department. (Doc. # 1 at ¶¶ 12-13). At that time, Nucor assigned him a level six pay grade. (Id. at ¶ 13). Plaintiff alleges that Caucasian day shop mechanics in his department of equal or similar experience, skill, or qualifications to him were given higher pay grades than he was and that Caucasian day shop mechanics in his department of lesser experience, skill, or qualifications were given the same pay grade as he was. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-15). Plaintiff further alleges that he was denied promotions and not allowed to fully participate in Nucor's bid process to apply for promotions although he was qualified to do so; however, he asserts that Caucasian employees with less experience, skills, and qualifications were given promotions and increased pay grades. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-17).

         In September 2013, Plaintiff received a lateral transfer (i.e., at the same pay grade) out of the Rolling Mill department. (Id. at ¶ 18). In February 2015, Plaintiff alleges that he was not allowed to bid on an opening for Mechanical Supervisor in the Melt Shop and that an unnamed Caucasian male with less or similar qualifications and experience received this job. (Id. at ¶ 22). In August 2015, Plaintiff alleges that he was not allowed to bid on an opening for Mechanical Lead and that an unnamed Caucasian male with less or similar qualifications and experience received that job. (Id. at ¶ 23). Nucor assigned Plaintiff to a Shift Mechanic position at a level eight pay grade[2] in September 2015. (Id. at ¶ 24). This pay raise was Plaintiff's first since he began working for Defendant. (Id. at ¶ 25).

         Throughout his employment with Nucor, Plaintiff alleges that multiple unidentified Caucasian employees with less experience, work time at Nucor, skills, and qualifications received increased pay grades, were hired at a higher job position or pay grade than Plaintiff, and became Shift Mechanics more quickly than Plaintiff did. (Id. at ¶¶ 26-27, 35-36). Plaintiff also alleges that Nucor gave Caucasian employees (but not Plaintiff) additional training to help them advance and that Nucor held Plaintiff to a heightened standard, racially discriminated against him, excessively micromanaged him, harassed him, and disciplined him disproportionately and unequally. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29). Plaintiff claims that Nucor often required him to provide detailed accounts of his completed work, but did not make his Caucasian co-workers do so, and that he received an unequal share of less desirable job duties, such as the most physically demanding jobs. (Id. at ¶¶ 30-31).

         On March 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Doc. # 3-1). The Charge, which was prepared by Plaintiff's attorney, alleges race and color discrimination and violations of Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that after he filed his EEOC Charge he was held to an even higher level of scrutiny and was constantly “nitpicked” by his supervisors although similarly situated Caucasian co-workers were not. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 32). Plaintiff also claims that he “was given several misleading discipline write-ups that similarly situated Caucasian co-workers did not . . . get.” (Id. at ¶ 33). On December 21, 2016, Defendant terminated Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶¶ 12, 34). Plaintiff alleges that his termination was discriminatory and retaliatory. (Id. at ¶ 34).

         On June 13, 2017, the EEOC issued Plaintiff a right to sue letter for his 2016 Charge. (Docs. # 1 at ¶ 9; 1-1). On September 11, 2017, within ninety days of receipt of the EEOC's letter, Plaintiff filed a Complaint broadly alleging two counts: (1) violation of Title VII and (2) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. (Doc. # 1). Just before the issuance of the right to sue letter connected to the 2016 Charge, on June 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed another Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. (Id. at ¶ 10). Plaintiff has not provided the court with a copy of the 2017 Charge in his Complaint; however, it appears that Plaintiff alleges retaliation in his second Charge. (Id. at ¶ 10). Plaintiff's second EEOC Charge is still being investigated by the EEOC. (Id.). Plaintiff states that he plans to amend his Complaint when the EEOC issues him a right to sue letter for his second Charge. (Id.).

         II. 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, 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.

         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 Fed.Appx. 136, 138 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Am. Dental Ass'n. 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.

         A statute of limitations defense is an affirmative defense, and a plaintiff is not obligated to negate a timeliness defense within the former corners of his complaint. La Grasta v. First Union Securities, Inc., 358 F.3d 840, 845 (11th Cir. 2004). “A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal on statute of limitations grounds is appropriate only if it is facially apparent that the claim is time-barred.” Baker v. Sanford, 484 Fed. App'x 291, 292 (11th Cir. 2012).

         III. ...


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.