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Rowell v. Gestamp Alabama, LLC

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

October 12, 2018

LATOSHA DENISE ROWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
GESTAMP ALABAMA, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          JOHN H. ENGLAND, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Latosha Denise Rowell (“Rowell”), proceeding pro se, brings this action against her employer Defendant Gestamp Alabama, LLC (“Gestamp”) alleging she was subjected to a sex-based hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Doc. 6). Gestamp moves to dismiss the amended complaint. (Doc. 10). Although she twice failed to respond to the motion to dismiss, after the undersigned ordered Rowell to show cause why this action should not be dismissed for want of prosecution (doc. 17), Rowell filed both a response to the show cause order[2] (docs. 18 & 20)[3] and a brief in opposition to the motion to dismiss (doc. 19). Gestamp then filed a reply brief in support of its motion to dismiss. (Doc. 21). Thus, the motion is ripe for review. Having reviewed the pleadings and applicable law, Gestamp's motion to dismiss (doc. 9) is GRANTED.

         I. Factual Allegations[4]

         Rowell alleges she was subjected to a sex-based hostile work environment and retaliation. (Doc. 6). On her October 20, 2017 Charge of Discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Rowell checked the box labeled “SEX” discrimination and provided the following to describe her claim:

I am a female; I was hired as full-time employee by the above named employer on August 28, 2017 as a Quality Tech. On or around August, 2017, Mr. Michael Carter (Supervisor of another section), hugged me. I told Mr. Carter that his action of hugging me was not welcomed; he then hugged me once more explaining that it meant nothing. I specifically let Mr. Carter know that his actions were not welcomed and were offensive. Mr. Carter would continually complement me on how beautiful I am, to which I let him know that his advances were not welcome neither were they appropriate since it created a hostile work environment. MR. Carter has said to me that females are “hard headed.” I reported Mr. Carter offensive actions and behavior to Ms. Traci Wells (Human Resources), on September 29, 2017. Since then Mr. Carter has not spoken to me or approached me. Even though I believe that Mr. Carter was told to stay away from me, I find that his actions are to taunt me, because he comes by my surroundings of where I work which are public work areas. I have reported Mr. Carter smelling of alcohol since then, because I passed near him when I was headed to the bathrooms. I have been told that an Investigation is still ongoing regarding the harassment and alcohol incidents, but I fear that nothing will be done.
I believe that I have been discriminated against because of my sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

(Doc. 6-1 at 1). In her amended complaint, Rowell alleges the follows:

I was grabbed from behind by associate Michael Carter in which his body was pressed against mine and his arms across my chest. Mr. Warren Landry did not handle the situation correctly putting me in a hostile work environment with Mr. Carter. Traci Wells, my HR Coordinator did not handle the situation in a timely manner by ignoring my e-mails, phone calls, and threatening my job. My hours have been changed numerous of [sic] times as well as other associates being given off-days instead of myself. Mr. Carter was never disciplined for his actions even after they were made aware of his alcoholic behavior and comments about me. My work suffered and working around the rumors and harassment made my daily living situations harder than normal. I feel as though by terminating everyone's employment due to their lack of judgment and behavior was a cover-up to avoid my legal case.

(Doc. 6 at 5-6).

         II. Standard of Review

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain ''a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.'' A[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.'' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Mere ''labels and conclusions'' or A a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action'' are insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). ''[Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'' Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 557).

         Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., permits dismissal when a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. ''To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'' Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint states a facially plausible claim for relief ''when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'' Id. (citation omitted). The complaint must establish ''more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.'' Id.; see also Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555 (''Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.''). Ultimately, this inquiry is a ''context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.'' Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         III. Analysis

         A. ...


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