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Lawrence v. Oakwood NBI Center for Living

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

December 11, 2019

MARINDA LAWRENCE, Plaintiff,
v.
OAKWOOD NBI CENTER FOR LIVING, Defendant.

          ORDER

          KRISTI K. DUBOSE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a sua sponte review of the record.

         On February 28, 2019, pro se Plaintiff Marinda Lawrence (Lawrence) filed a complaint against her former employer, Defendant Oakwood NBI Center for Living (Oakwood), alleging what appears to be a Title VII race discrimination claim and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), in connection with Oakwood's termination of her employment. (Doc. 1).[1] In response, on June 28, 2019, Oakwood moved to dismiss per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and for failure to comply with Rules 8 and 9 (that Lawrence failed to allege facts that would establish the essential elements of her claims). (Doc. 9). Briefing on the motion was complete on August 1, 2019. (Docs. 11, 12).

         The Court finds that Oakwood's motion to dismiss is due to be granted because: (1) Lawrence's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted per rule 12(b)(6); and (2) for failure to prosecute because she did not amend her complaint as ordered.

         I. Failure to State a Claim

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides:

(b) How to Present Defenses. Every defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the following defenses by motion:
*** (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and

         Oakwood moves for failure to state a claim arguing that “[i]t is impossible to discern from Plaintiff's complaint what claims she is alleging.” (Doc. 9-1 at 1). Oakwood alleges further that Lawrence's complaint is “devoid… of any factual allegations supporting or even related to…” her asserted claims. (Id.).

         On October 3, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that Oakwood's motion to dismiss be granted but that Lawrence be granted leave to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 13). In so doing, the Magistrate thoroughly discussed the deficiencies in Lawrence's complaint supporting dismissal per rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim:

....First, the Court considers Plaintiff's Title VII race-based discrimination claim. “Under Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual on the basis of his race[.]”...
*** ...Here, Lawrence has not identified her race, let alone alleged any facts that, if proven, would suggest that her termination/demotion was related to her race. Although Plaintiff lists Director of Nursing Cheri Powell as the person who discriminated against her, she does not indicate the race of the decision maker(s), nor offer any facts suggesting a discriminatory animus. (Doc. 1 at 2). Thus, Lawrence has failed to allege any facts that would support a claim of racially motivated termination.
Second, with respect to her ADA claim, Lawrence alleges in her complaint that Defendant Oakwood discriminated against her due to her physical disability, but she provides no facts in support of her assertion. However, in her response in opposition to Defendant's motion, Lawrence indicates that, while she was on medical leave, her position was filled, and when she returned, she was offered a demotion. To state a retaliation claim under the ADA, a plaintiff must show that her employer discriminated against her for opposing an act or practice made illegal under the ADA....
Plaintiff's complaint, as currently drafted, does not contain facts sufficient to state an ADA claim; however, the allegations listed in her response in opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss suggest that, if afforded an opportunity to file an amended ...

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