United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on “Defendant Talladega
City Board of Education's Motion to Dismiss, ”
filed on September 19, 2018. (Doc. 3). On August 16, 2018,
Plaintiff Janie Keith filed this employment discrimination
lawsuit alleging gender discrimination, hostile work
environment, retaliation, pay discrimination, and quantum
meruit. (Doc. 1). On October 15, 2018, Ms. Keith filed
“Plaintiff's Objection to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss.” (Doc. 9). On October 25, 2018, Talladega City
Board of Education filed “Defendant's Reply to
Plaintiff's Objection to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss.” (Doc. 10). The motion is now ripe for review.
Board of Education hired Ms. Keith, an African-American
female, as a physical education teacher on October 19, 1989.
(Doc. 9 at 1). Ms. Keith initially coached varsity
cheerleading at Talladega High School, volleyball at Zora
Ellis Jr. High School, and 7th and 8th grade girls'
basketball at Zora Ellis Jr. High School. Throughout her time
working for the Board, Ms. Keith coached several other teams,
as identified in the chart below.
Keith alleges that she was paid for coaching varsity
volleyball, but not junior varsity volleyball, for the
academic years 2013 through 2016. Ms. Keith alleges that she
was paid for coaching varsity softball, but not junior
varsity softball, for academic years 2013-2014 and 2016-2017.
Keith claims that in 2010, she was hired as Assistant
Athletic Director. In this position, she would assist Charles
Miller, a Caucasian male who the Board appointed as the
Athletic Director for the academic years 2010 through
2012-2013 academic year, the Board of Education appointed Ms.
Keith as the Athletic Director for Talladega City Schools.
She remained Athletic Director until the Board terminated her
on September 2, 2016. She was never given an assistant during
this time, and was allegedly paid less than Mr. Miller. Ms.
Keith alleges that she was fired because she sought redress
for the discrimination issues.
November 28, 2016, Ms. Keith filed a charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Keith filed her
complaint on August 18, 2018. (Doc. 1). Ms. Keith raises six
counts in her complaint.
One alleges gender discrimination under Title IX. Ms. Keith
alleges that “Defendants' acts and failures to act
perpetrated against Plaintiff amount to harassment and
discrimination on the basis of gender. The harassment and
discrimination was [sic] sufficiently severe and pervasive to
create an abusive, and hostile educational environment for
Plaintiff.” (Doc. 1 at 8). Ms. Keith contends that the
discrimination affected her and the girls' sports
programs in the school district.
Two alleges gender discrimination under Title VII. Ms. Keith
generally pled that the Board of Education
“discriminated against the Plaintiff in violation of
the rights secured to plaintiffs and the class by Title VII .
. . .” (Doc. 1 at 10). As a result of this
alleged violation, “Plaintiff has suffered anguish,
humiliation, distress, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of
life, thereby entitling her to compensatory damages.”
(Id. at 11).
Three alleges a hostile work environment under Title VII. Ms.
Keith contends that “[t]he above-described unwelcome
sex discrimination created an intimidating, oppressive,
hostile and offensive work environment which interfered with
Plaintiff's emotional and physical well-being.”
(Doc. 1 at 12).
Four alleges retaliation. Ms. Keith alleges that the Board
terminated her because she made internal complaints regarding
her alleged disparate treatment.
Five alleges pay discrimination. Ms. Keith claims that she
was paid “less than a similarly situated male employee
performing the same or similar duties.” (Doc. 1 at 15).
She also alleges that the Board required her to coach junior
varsity softball and volleyball without pay during the
2013-2014 and 2016-2017 academic years, in addition to being
paid less than Mr. Miller as Athletic Director and not having
an Assistant Athletic Director.
Six alleges quantum meruit. Ms. Keith claims that she
provided services by coaching junior varsity girls'
softball for academic years 2015-2016 and junior varsity
girls' volleyball for academic years 2013-2016 without
pay, and so she seeks payment for those services rendered.
Standard of Review
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss attacks the legal sufficiency of
the complaint. Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure require only that the complaint provide
“‘a short and plain statement of the claim'
that will give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)). A plaintiff must provide
the grounds of his entitlement, but Rule 8 generally does not
require “detailed factual allegations.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley, 355 U.S. at 47). It does, however,
“demand[ ] more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
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 assertions” without supporting factual
allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557.
Supreme Court explained that “[t]o 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 (quoting and explaining its decision in
Twombly, 550 U.S. At 570). To be plausible on its
face, the claim must contain enough facts that “allow
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678. 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. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are
merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it
‘stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Supreme Court has identified “two working
principles” for the district court to use in applying
the facial plausibility standard. The first principle is
that, in evaluating motions to dismiss, the court must assume
the veracity of well-pleaded factual allegations; however,
the court does not have to accept as true legal conclusions
even when “couched as  factual allegation[s]”
or “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The second principle is that
“only a complaint that states a plausible claim for
relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. at
679. Thus, under prong one, the court determines the factual
allegations that are well-pleaded and assumes their veracity,
and then proceeds, under prong two, to determine the
claim's plausibility given the well-pleaded facts. That
task is “context-specific” and, to survive the
motion, the allegations must permit the court ...