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 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
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 ¶¶
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 in September 2015. (Id. at ¶
24). This pay raise was Plaintiff's first since he began
working for Defendant. (Id. at ¶ 25).
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 ¶¶
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 ¶
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.).
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 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.
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).