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Jenkins v. Security Engineers Inc.

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

June 27, 2018




         This is an employment discrimination action. The case is before the court on defendant Security Engineers, Inc.'s motion to dismiss pro se plaintiff Pamela Blackmore-Jenkins's amended complaint and motion for a more definite statement. (Doc. 12). Security Engineers asks the court to dismiss Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins's OSHA retaliation claim. Security Engineers asks the court to require Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins to re-plead her remaining claims.

         Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins responded to the motion. (Doc. 14). She contends that pursuant to Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, her amended complaint provides a short and plain statement that puts Security Engineers on notice of the claims that she asserts her former employer.

         For the reasons explained below, the Court finds that Security Engineers's motion is due to be granted in part and denied in part.


         Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) enables a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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). 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. A complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, but a complaint must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         When resolving a motion to dismiss, the court must “accept[] the allegations in the complaint as true and constru[e] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Hill v. White, 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam)). Although the court must accept well-pleaded facts as true, the court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         When, as here, a plaintiff proceeds pro se, the court must liberally construe the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). “‘[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Id. (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice.”). Still, the court may not “serve as de facto counsel for a party, or . . . rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading” to “sustain an action.” Campbell v. Air Jamaica Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165, 1168-69 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal quotations and citations omitted). In other words, “[o]nce a pro se litigant is in court, [s]he is subject to the relevant laws and rules of court, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Smith v. Fla. Dept. of Corr., 369 F.App'x. 36, 38 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989)).


         Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins is over 40-years old. (Doc. 11, p. 3). She started working for Security Engineers in July 2015, and at an unspecified time, Security Engineers terminated her employment. (Doc. 11, p. 1, ¶ 3; Doc. 11, p. 9).

         While she was employed, Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins filed a complaint with Security Engineers in which she stated that other employees sexually harassed her. Specifically, Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins “made complaints of sexual comments, visual displays, actions of sexual intimidation and physical touching in a secluded room.” (Doc. 11, p. 2, ¶ 4). According to Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins, one month after she filed her complaint, a co-worker pushed Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins “against the ladies bathroom door, pressing her body and breast firmly against” Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins. (Doc. 11, p. 2, ¶ 5). Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins “immediately wrote a letter to Human Resources.” (Doc. 11, p. 2, ¶ 5).

         In her amended complaint, Ms. Blackmore-Jenkins alleges that one month after she wrote the letter to human resources:

Captain Adams Jenkins was working Patrol. Captain Jenkins was lingering in the dispatch office more than usual. I was sitting with my back facing the copier, the phone was to my left. Captain Jenkins stood behind my office chair. Moving and pressing against the chair, caused the chair to swivel to the left. I slid the chair forward to give him some room and get him off of the chair. With my glasses on, I dropped my head forward, to pretend I was reading. He used the dispatch phone to make a call. He continued to stand behind the chair while talking and consistently rotating and moving the chair. He rotated the chair to rub his pelvic area with an erected penis against my arm. I forcefully slid my chair forward. He slid the chair back toward his and he said, “You Alright.” As if there was enough space between the ...

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