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Gandy v. VT Mae

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

August 7, 2019

VAN GANDY, Plaintiff,
v.
VT Mae, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SONJA F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant VT MAE's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 6). The motion has been fully briefed and has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for entry of a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 6) be GRANTED and that this action be DISMISSED with prejudice.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Plaintiff, Van Gandy, who is proceeding pro se, filed a complaint against Defendant VT MAE (“MAE”) and a motion to proceed without prepayment of fees on August 31, 2018. (Docs. 1, 2). The Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis on September 4, 2018. (Doc. 3).

         In his original complaint, Plaintiff asserted that he was employed by Defendant MAE from February 11, 2008, to November 1, 2017, as a mechanic and that his job was terminated on November 1, 2017, while he was on medical leave, in violation of Plaintiff's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). (Id. at 2-3). On September 28, 2018, Defendant MAE moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Doc. 6).

         In an Order dated June 6, 2019, the undersigned observed that Plaintiff's complaint was deficient because it failed to allege the elements of a prima facie case under the ADA or the EPA and, thus, failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Doc. 10). Indeed, the Court set forth the elements of a prima facie case under both the ADA and the EPA and explained to Plaintiff which elements were missing in his complaint. (Id.). The Court then directed Plaintiff to file, by July 3, 2019, an amended complaint that corrected the noted deficiencies. (Id.). Plaintiff was cautioned that he must correct the noted deficiencies, or else the Court would recommend that the action be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Id.). Plaintiff was provided a copy of the Pro Se Litigation Guide and encouraged to utilize the Guide in drafting his amended complaint. (Id.).

         On July 2, 2019, Plaintiff filed a “response” to the Court's order (Doc. 12), which the Court construes as Plaintiff's amended complaint. Having reviewed Plaintiff's amended complaint (id.), the Court observes that it is as deficient as the original complaint. Indeed, in the 215-page filing, Plaintiff sets forth one substantive paragraph, devoid of any material factual allegations, in which he explains his pro se status and describes his list of attached exhibits (which comprise the remaining 214 pages). (Doc. 12). Plaintiff's voluminous exhibits consist largely of medical records, court records, telephone records, disability insurance records, EEOC records, and social security disability records. (Id.).

         Because Plaintiff was afforded ample opportunity to correct the pleading deficiencies in his original complaint but failed to do so, Defendant's motion to dismiss is due to be granted, and Plaintiff's amended complaint is due to be dismissed, with prejudice, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.[1]

         II. Rule 12(b)(6) Standard.

         A defendant may move to dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. “The standard of review for a motion to dismiss is the same for the appellate court as it [is] for the trial court.” Stephens v. Department of Health & Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990). “When considering a motion to dismiss, all facts set forth in the plaintiff's complaint ‘are to be accepted as true and the court limits its consideration to the pleadings and exhibits attached thereto.” Grossman v. Nationsbank, N.A., 225 F.3d 1228, 1231 (11th Cir. 2000) (quoting GSW, Inc. v. Long County, 999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th Cir. 1993)). All “reasonable inferences” are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. St. George v. Pinellas County, 285 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2002).

         To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations”; however, the “plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . ., on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. Unless a plaintiff has “nudged [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, ” the complaint “must be dismissed.” Id.

         “[U]unsupported conclusions of law or of mixed fact and law” will not defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for dismissal. Dalrymple v. Reno, 334 F.3d 991, 996 (11th Cir. 2003) (quoting Marsh v. Butler County, Ala., 268 F.3d 1014, 1036 n.16 (11th Cir. 2001)). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). The U.S. Supreme Court has suggested that courts adopt a “two-pronged approach” when considering motions to dismiss: “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.'” American Dental Ass'n v. Cigna Corp., 605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664). Importantly, “courts may infer from the factual allegations in the complaint ‘obvious alternative explanation[s],' which suggest lawful conduct rather than the unlawful conduct the plaintiff would ask the court to infer.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 682).

         When considering a pro se litigant's allegations, a court gives them a liberal construction holding them to a less stringent standard than those of an attorney. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, a court does not have “license . . . to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading [by a pro se litigant] in order to sustain an action.” GJR Investments, Inc. v. County of Escambia, Fla., 132 F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998), overruled on other grounds by Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); see Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 709 (11th Cir. 2010) (observing Iqbal's overruling of GJR Investments' heightened pleading standard). Furthermore, a pro se litigant “is ...


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