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Glanton v. Wayne Farms LLC

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

August 23, 2019

ZACORIUS GLANTON, Plaintiff,
v.
WAYNE FARMS, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          EMILY C. MARKS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Now pending before the Court are a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Wayne Farms, LLC (“Wayne Farms”) (Doc. 10) on June 14, 2019, and a motion to amend filed by Plaintiff Zacorius Glanton (“Glanton”) (Doc. 16) on July 15, 2019.

         On May 7, 2019 Glanton filed a complaint against Wayne Farms, bringing a hostile work environment claim pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (count one), a claim of constructive discharge pursuant to Title VII (count two), a state-law claim of outrageous conduct (count three), a state-law claim of invasion of privacy (count four), a state-law battery claim (count five), and a state-law negligent supervision claim (count six) (Doc. 1).

         After Wayne Farms moved to dismiss the complaint, Glanton moved to file an amended complaint, attaching a proposed amended complaint, and stating that the amendment would cure deficiencies identified by Wayne Farms. (Doc. 16 & 16-1).

         Upon consideration of the complaint, the proposed amended complaint, and the briefs of the parties, and for the reasons that follow, the motion to amend is due to be GRANTED to the extent that Glanton will be allowed the opportunity to file an amended complaint.

         I. FACTS

         The allegations of the complaint are as follows:

         Glanton was an employee of Wayne Farms from March 1 to July 18, 2018. Glanton's employment was constructively terminated on July 18, 2018.

         Glanton identifies another employee of Wayne Farms, Allen Stephenson (“Stephenson”), as a person who sexually harassed him. Glanton complained about unwanted touching to his supervisor who at first laughed off the behavior, and then agreed to move Glanton to another line. Glanton alleges that management observed Glanton and Stephenson later that same day, and that Glanton then went to the office and reported Stephenson's conduct. (Doc. 1, at p. 3-4).

         Glanton acknowledges that management moved him after his complaint, but states that Stephenson did not stop his inappropriate behavior. According to Glanton, Stephenson touched him inappropriately on a weekly basis. On June 29, 2018, after Stephenson threatened to physically fight Glanton, members of management took Glanton to human resources where he again complained. Glanton alleges that Stephenson was still trying to get his attention after the meeting with human resources, so Glanton left the floor and has not returned to Wayne Farms. (Doc. 1, at p. 5-7).

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the sufficiency of the complaint against the legal standard set forth in Rule 8: “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         “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 663 (alteration in original) (citation omitted). The plausibility standard requires “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Conclusory allegations that are merely “conceivable” and fail to rise “above the speculative level” are insufficient to meet the plausibility standard. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. This pleading standard “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me ...


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