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McAdams v. Jefferson County 911 Emergency Communications District, Inc.

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

July 31, 2018

STAN McADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
THE JEFFERSON COUNTY 911 EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS DISTRICT, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Jefferson County 911 Emergency Communications District, Inc. (“Jefferson County 911” or “Defendant”). (Doc. # 13). The parties have fully briefed the Motion. (Docs. # 14, 17, 18). For the reasons explained below, the court finds that the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 13) is due to be granted.

         I. Relevant Facts[1]

         In October 2013, Plaintiff Stan McAdams (“McAdams” or “Plaintiff”) began his employment with Jefferson County 911 as a dispatcher for 911 fire services. (Doc. # 10 at ¶ 9). McAdams was later promoted to a POD leader position. (Id.). In November 2014, he was diagnosed with and treated for Multiple Sclerosis and had to take off approximately three months of work. (Id. at ¶ 10). On December 9, 2015, McAdams was promoted to Night Shift supervisor for fire dispatch. (Id. at ¶ 11).

         Sometime in late 2016 or early 2017, it became increasingly difficult for McAdams to work the night shift because of his Multiple Sclerosis. (Id. at ¶ 16). McAdams presented the Chief Operations Officer (“COO”) with a letter from his physician requesting an accommodation, and McAdams requested transfer to a day shift supervisor's position. (Id. at ¶¶ 17-18). Initially, the COO told McAdams that there was a “good possibility” that he would receive his requested transfer; however, later, the COO informed McAdams that the Director/Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) had rejected the transfer. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21).

         In February 2017, the CEO decided to reduce the number of supervisors from six supervisors to four. (Id. at ¶ 22). One supervisor had previously been demoted, leaving five individuals to fill these four positions. (Id. at ¶ 23). On August 8, 2017, each of the five individuals (including McAdams) were directed to submit a resume and essay entitled “why I want to be a supervisor” by August 14, 2017. (Id. at ¶ 24). Jefferson County 911 did not select McAdams as one of the four supervisors. (Id. at ¶ 27). McAdams contends that he was more qualified than one of the other selected supervisors and that one of the other selected supervisors was selected in part due to additional training he received that McAdams was not allowed to receive. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-15, 27-28). On September 26, 2017, the CEO, COO, and Chief Administration Officer (“CAO”) met with McAdams and informed him that he was being demoted and moved to the day shift. (Id. at ¶ 29). During this meeting, the CAO told McAdams, “If you go to the dayshift, it will be better for your MS.” (Id. at ¶ 30).

         McAdams filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on February 21, 2018. (Doc. # 1-1 at p. 4). On March 28, 2018, the EEOC sent Plaintiff a Right to Sue Notice, which Plaintiff received on April 2, 2018. (Docs. # 1-1 at p. 1; 10 at ¶ 4). Plaintiff filed this action on May 1, 2018. (Doc. # 1). On June 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint, alleging Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) claims related to purported disability discrimination. (Doc. # 10). On July 6, 2018, Defendant filed its Motion to Dismiss, arguing that this action is due to be dismissed because Jefferson County 911 enjoys Eleventh Amendment immunity from this suit. (Docs. # 13, 14).

         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) (unpublished) (quoting Am. Dental Assn. 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.

         III. Analysis

         “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI. “Although the express language of the [Eleventh] [A]mendment does not bar suits against a state by its own citizens, the Supreme Court has held that an unconsenting state is immune from lawsuits brought in federal court by the state's own citizens.” Carr v. City of Florence, Ala., 916 F.2d 1521, 1524 (11th Cir. 1990) (citing Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1 (1890)). The Eleventh Amendment bars suit against ...


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