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Raulerson v. New South Express, LLC

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

July 24, 2018

DEREK RAULERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW SOUTH EXPRESS, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, United States District Judge

         This is a civil action filed by the Plaintiff, Derek Raulerson, against Elwood Staffing Services, Inc. (“Elwood”) and New South Express, LLC. (“NSE”), his former joint employers. (Doc. 25). The Second Amended Complaint alleges that, after the Plaintiff complained about the Defendants' alleged discrimination against his co-employees, the Defendants retaliated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12101-12213 (the “ADA”). The case comes before the Court on the Defendants' Motion To Dismiss, filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted (the “Motion”). (Doc. 26). For the reasons stated herein, the Motion will be GRANTED.

         I. STANDARD

         Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that the complaint provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). However, to survive a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6), 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) (“Twombly”).

         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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556) (“Iqbal”). That is, the complaint must include enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation and footnote omitted). 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 or conclusions” or “naked assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations. Id. at 555, 557 (citation omitted).

         Once a claim has been stated adequately, however, “it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint.” Id. at 563 (citation omitted). Further, when ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court must “take the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v. McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Glover v. Liggett Group, Inc., 459 F.3d 1304, 1308 (11th Cir. 2006)).

         II. ANALYSIS

         In the previous Complaint (the Amended Complaint), the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants discriminated against employees based on pregnancy and disability and that he was retaliated against by the Defendants after he “complained repeatedly of these discriminatory practices.” (Doc. 6 at 3). The Plaintiff's discrimination claim was brought only pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e through 2000e-17 (“Title VII”).

         In its previous opinion, this Court wrote:

Title VII, as amended by the [the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (the “PDA”)], provides a cause of action for retaliation in response to the Plaintiff's complaints of discrimination based upon pregnancy. There is, however, no Title VII claim for the Defendant's alleged retaliation against the Plaintiff for his complaints of disability discrimination. Any such claim should have been made under the [ADA]. Therefore, as currently pleaded, the Amended Complaint does not set out a claim for retaliation in response to the Plaintiff's complaints of disability discrimination.

(Doc. 24 at 9-10). Furthermore, the Court wrote:

The EEOC charges filed by the Plaintiff allege only one instance of protected activity-the Plaintiff's complaint regarding “a disabled candidate for employment [who] was discriminated against by the Sr. Human Resource Representative on February 11, 2016.” (Doc. 11-1 at 2; doc. 11-2 at 2) (emphasis added). The Defendants argue that the pregnancy discrimination claim must be dismissed because neither EEOC charge filed by the Plaintiff in this case mentions complaints regarding pregnancy, or retaliation against the Plaintiff for making such complaints.

(Doc. 24 at 11) (emphasis in original). The Court agreed with the Defendants and held that any claims of retaliation based upon the Plaintiff's alleged reporting of pregnancy discrimination were barred. (Doc. 24 at 10). The Court granted the motion to dismiss, but wrote:

However, the Court holds that the EEOC's investigation of the allegations in the charges would have covered a claim under the ADA for retaliation. Accordingly, the Plaintiff will be given one additional opportunity, consistent with the holdings in ...

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