United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION
Russ Walker United States Magistrate Judge.
se Plaintiff Sylvia Reese initiated this civil rights
action against her employer, Defendant Weidplas North
America, LLC, alleging Weidplas' liability under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”)
for race discrimination and/or for retaliation. Doc. 1. The
court granted Plaintiff's application for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, ordering the clerk to defer
service of process on Defendant until further order of the
court, pending review of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Doc. 9 at 2.
its review of Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1), the court
ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint. Doc. 10 at 7.
The court indicated that
[t]he amended complaint shall comply with the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure and shall (i) clearly state which causes
of action [Plaintiff] intends to state against the defendant,
and (ii) for each cause of action alleged, set forth all of
the material facts giving rise to the cause of action clearly
and concisely, without omitting any of the necessary facts as
discussed in this order.
filed an amended complaint on September 11, 2019. Doc. 11.
Upon its review of the amended complaint, the court finds
that Plaintiff's amended complaint is due to be dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In relevant
part, § 1915(e) provides that “the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . .
. the action or appeal . . . is frivolous or malicious [or] .
. . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted . .
. .” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
the court construes pro se pleadings liberally,
see Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir.
2003), pro se litigants must nonetheless follow the
procedural rules, and the court is not required to rewrite a
deficient pleading. See GJR Invests., Inc. v. County
of Escambia, 132 F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998),
overruled on other grounds by Randall v.
Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 710 (11th Cir. 2010) (relying on
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)).
“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standards
govern [a court's] review of dismissals under section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)[.]” Mitchell v. Farcass, 112
F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997); see also Jones v.
Brown, 649 Fed.Appx. 889, 890 (11th Cir. 2016) (citing
Mitchell, supra) (“We review the
district court's dismissal for failure to state a claim
for which relief may be granted pursuant to §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) de novo, applying the same
standards that govern Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6).”). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
must view the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, accepting all of the plaintiff's well-pleaded
facts as true. Am. United Life Ins. Co. v. Martinez,
480 F.3d 1043, 1057 (11th Cir. 2007). Pro se
pleadings are liberally construed and held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys.
Powell v. Lennon, 914 F.2d 1459, 1463 (11th Cir.
1990). However, in order to survive a motion to dismiss, the
plaintiff's complaint must contain facts sufficient to
support a plausible claim to relief. [Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678].
Id. Additionally, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8
requires that a plaintiff file a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[T]he pleading
standard Rule 8 announces does not require ‘detailed
factual allegations,' but it demands more than an
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). Therefore, even if liberally construed,
Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 11), must minimally
satisfy Rule 8 to survive review under § 1915(e).
Furthermore, an amended complaint entirely supersedes all
prior complaints. See Pintando v. Miami-Dade Housing
Agency, 501 F.3d 1241, 1243 (11th Cir. 2007); Fritz
v. Standard Life Ins. Co., 676 F.2d 1356, 1358 (11th
Cir. 1982) (finding that under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure an amended complaint supersedes the original
complaint). Once a complaint is amended, the only issues
before the court are those raised in the amended document,
and the plaintiff may not rely upon or incorporate by
reference her prior pleadings. This court has reviewed
Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 11) and supporting
exhibits (Docs. 11-1-11-4) in light of the foregoing
Title VII Race Discrimination
Plaintiff expressly alleges Defendant's liability under
Title VII for race discrimination. Doc. 11 ¶¶ 1, 3.
It is unlawful under Title VII for a covered employer to
discriminate against any individual in connection with the
terms and conditions of employment because of that
individual's membership in a protected class such as
race. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). An
employer is covered for Title VII purposes if the employer
employed 15 or more employees on each work day in each of
twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding
calendar year. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b).
Plaintiff's allegation that Defendant “Weidplas
employs 50 or more employees” (Doc. 11 ¶ 4) and
the EEOC charge stating that Defendant employs
“101-200” employees (Doc. 11-1 at 9), are
sufficient to support the conclusion that Defendant is a
covered employer for Title VII purposes.
state a prima facie race discrimination claim under
Title VII, a plaintiff must allege that (i) she is a member
of a racial minority, (ii) she was subjected to adverse
employment action, (iii) she was qualified for the job at
issue, and (iv) her employer treated one or more employees
outside her protected class more favorably, where such other
employees were similarly situated in all material respects to
the plaintiff. See Lewis v. City of Union City,
Georgia, 918 F.3d 1213, 1220-1221, 1221-1226 (11th Cir.
2019). In her amended complaint, Plaintiff clearly alleges
that she is “a member of a racial minority
(African-American (Non-Hispanic)), ” and that she was
“qualified for the job at issue, ” having worked
at the company “since November 29, 2004, ” as
“a team leader for more than six years.” Doc. 11
¶ 3. However, the allegations in the amended complaint
are insufficient to establish that Plaintiff was subjected to
adverse employment action and that Defendant treated
similarly situated employee(s) outside of Plaintiff's
protected class more favorably than she.
Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged that she was subjected
to adverse employment action. In fact, her amended complaint
and supporting exhibits appear to establish the contrary. For
instance, although Plaintiff alleges that, toward the end of
her leave taken pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act
of 1993 (“FMLA”) her “job title changed
from Team Leader to Production Operator, ” Plaintiff
also states that, “her pay did not change, ” she
has “not been out of work since returning from
FMLA”-and that, upon her written request,
was reinstated to her previous role as Team Leader in the
Production Department. Doc. 11 ¶¶ 5, 6. Plaintiff
does allege that she worked under “less favorable
conditions, ” such as “outside in the hot
warehouse, ” during her five weeks as Production
Operator. Id. ¶ 5. However, her amended
complaint and supporting exhibits make clear that the
position of Production Operator was not intended as a
permanent modification to the terms and conditions of her
employment, but was instead a temporary arrangement due to
business necessity-e.g., the need for Defendant to
have a replacement available for Plaintiff when she was on
leave and absent. See Doc. 11 ¶¶ 5, 6;
Doc. 11-1 at 2. Second, although Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant treated one Caucasian employee who took FMLA leave
more favorably than she, she has not alleged facts underlying
that allegation with sufficient particularity to support the
conclusion that Defendant treated non-minority employees more
favorably, where such employees were similarly situated to
Plaintiff in all material respects. Even accepting
as true the unadorned allegation that Plaintiff's and the
Caucasian employee's “roles and responsibilities
are very similar, ” the amended complaint plainly
establishes that Plaintiff “is a production team
leader, ” whereas the comparator employee “is a
maintenance team leader, ” and that
employee's scope of duties is not alleged. Doc. 11 ¶
4 (emphasis added). For these reasons, the court concludes
that the amended complaint is insufficient to state a claim
against Defendant for race discrimination under Title VII.