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Dillard v. Brennan

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

March 27, 2019

TIFFANY DILLARD, Plaintiff,
v.
MEGAN J. BRENNAN, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          EMILY C. MARKS, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Megan J. Brennan's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (doc. 14) filed on October 5, 2018. The motion has been fully briefed by the parties. (Docs. 15 & 19). For the reasons that follow, the Defendant's motion is granted.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW.

         A. 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss.

         A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, may be a factual or facial attack on subject matter jurisdiction. Barnett v. Okeechobee Hosp., 283 F.3d 1232, 1238 (11th Cir. 2002). A factual attack permits the district court to weigh evidence outside the pleadings to satisfy itself of the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact. Id. at 1237. However, a facial attack merely questions the sufficiency of the pleading. Id. Under a facial attack, the district court accepts the plaintiff's allegations as true and need not look beyond the face of the complaint to determine whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Id.; Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990). If the court then finds that the pleading does not allege a basis for subject matter jurisdiction, the court will dismiss the complaint.

         B. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss.

         “To survive a motion to dismiss [for failure to state a claim], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (quoting 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.” Id. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.

         In analyzing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court assumes the factual allegations in the complaint to be true. However, “if allegations [in the complaint] are indeed more conclusory than factual, then the court does not have to assume their truth.” Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2012) (citing Mamani v. Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153- 54 (11th Cir. 2011)). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires 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.

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT.

         Plaintiff Tiffany Dillard is employed as a Rural Carrier Associate (“RCA”) with the United States Postal Service. (Doc. 2, p. 2). The Plaintiff alleges that she experienced gender discrimination, race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; further, the Plaintiff alleges that, at the hands of her supervisor, she experienced a violation of her First Amendment rights. Id. at 4-8.

         The Plaintiff's claims of discrimination are based on her allegation that she was not permitted “to close U.S. Postal stations” while other RCAs were permitted to do so. Id. at 4. The Plaintiff claims that, because she was not permitted to perform this duty, she was precluded from “earn[ing] the associated extra pay.” Id. at 3. The Plaintiff alleges that “males, at least two maybe more, were allowed to ‘close' U.S. Postal Stations” and that the Plaintiff “had more seniority time” than those male RCAs. Id. at 3, 4, 6. The Plaintiff does not specify the race of these two unidentified men, but instead asserts that she “cannot think of any other reason, other than her being a Female, or specially [sic] a Black Female, that she was not being allowed the opportunity to earn the extra money closing.” Id. at 3.

         In support of her harassment claim, the Plaintiff alleges that her supervisor was “following her, bumping into her, setting her up for discipline in an Express Mail situation, threatening her, calling her and telling her she was not needed when she was, among other acts . . . .” Id. at 8.

         The Plaintiff claims she suffered retaliation when the U.S. Postal Service ceased allowing RCAs to close U.S. Postal Stations after the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”) sent an investigator in response to the Plaintiff's complaint. Id. at 3-5. She alleges that her co-workers blamed her for this policy change and that she received “flack” from these co-workers. Id. at 4.

         Finally, the Plaintiff claims that her First Amendment rights were violated when, in a group meeting, she asked her supervisor why some RCAs with less seniority were permitted to close U.S. Postal Stations when she was not permitted to do so. Id. According to the Plaintiff, her supervisor cut her off and did not permit her to speak. Id.

         The Plaintiff exhausted her administrative remedies, and the EEOC mailed her a notice, which specified that the Plaintiff had the right to file a civil action in United States District Court within ninety days of receiving the notice. (Doc. 2-1, p. 3). The notice further specified that “the Commission will presume that this decision was received within five (5) calendar days after it was mailed.” Id. at 4. The notice was ...


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