United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Jessica O'Connor and The Whalen Law Firm move for
dismissal of Plaintiff Derick Norris's claims. Doc. 6.
The motion is GRANTED and the claims are DISMISSED.
9, 2016, Norris filed this pro se action against the
Defendants. Doc. 1. The Defendants now move for dismissal
pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and 41(b) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Doc. 6. Norris's claims relate to his
dismissal from his job with the City of Flovilla, Georgia
(the City) on June 10, 2014. See Doc. 9 at 1;
Norris v. Flovilla, No. 5:14-cv-441 (MTT) (M.D.
Ga.), Doc. 29-2 ¶¶ 1-2, 38. This is the second
action Norris has brought related to his
termination. See Norris, No. 5:14-cv- 441.
Prior to firing Norris, the City hired O'Connor, then
associated with Whalen, to investigate issues with employees,
including complaints against Norris. Id., Doc. 21-1
¶ 23. O'Connor presented a report to the City that
recommended firing Norris. Id., Doc. 21-6 at 53-75.
The City's Mayor Scott Chewning relied on this report to
fire Norris and the City Council relied on it in affirming
the dismissal. Id., Docs. 6-3 at 1-2; 21-1 ¶
35-38; 29-2 ¶ 35-38. Norris then filed his first action
against the City alleging claims of retaliation and
discrimination. Id., Doc. 6.
Norris alleges the Defendants discriminated against him on
the basis of race and thus violated Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Doc. 1 at 2.
Norris also asserts claims of “malicious interference
with contractual relations” and “interference
with business or employment relations” under Georgia
law. Id. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
Defendants move to dismiss the Title VII claim for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies. Doc. 6-1 at 9-10.
Additionally, the Defendants move to dismiss that claim, as
well as the § 1981 and state law claims, for failure to
state a claim. Id. at 10-16.
TITLE VII CLAIM
Defendants move for dismissal of Norris's Title VII claim
for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. Before
bringing a Title VII claim, a plaintiff must file a complaint
against the defendant with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC). 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e). A plaintiff
must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180
days of the discriminatory act. See H&R Block Eastern
Enters., Inc. v. Morris, 606 F.3d 1285, 1295 (11th Cir.
2010); McBrayer v. City of Marietta, 967 F.2d 546,
547 (11th Cir. 1992) (citing 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1)).
Norris alleges that he filed a complaint with the EEOC
“on or about August 5, 2014” and received a
right-to-sue letter on September 21, 2014, but Norris does
not attach these documents to his complaint. Doc. 1 at 3.
Norris did attach an EEOC charge to his previous compliant
related to his firing. In that complaint, Norris attached an EEOC
charge dated September 5, 2014, but that complaint was
against the City and does not identify the
Defendants. Norris, 5:14-cv-441, Doc. 6-1 at
1-4. Accordingly, Norris has not sufficiently alleged that he
exhausted his administrative remedies and thus his Title VII
claims must be dismissed.
§ 1981 CLAIM
Defendants move to dismiss Norris's § 1981 claim for
failure to state a claim. The Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure require that a pleading contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To avoid
dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter 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)). “At the motion to dismiss stage, all
well-pleaded facts are accepted as true, and the reasonable
inferences therefrom are construed in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Garfield v. NDC Health
Corp., 466 F.3d 1255, 1261 (11th Cir. 2006) (quotation
marks and citation omitted). Courts “need not accept as
true, however, conclusory legal allegations made in the
complaint.” Andrx Pharm., Inc. v. Elan Corp.,
PLC, 421 F.3d 1227, 1230 n.1 (11th Cir. 2005).
“[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.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “[C]onclusory allegations,
unwarranted deductions of facts or legal conclusions
masquerading as facts will not prevent dismissal.”
Oxford Asset Mgmt., Ltd. v. Jaharis, 297 F.3d 1182,
1188 (11th Cir. 2002). The complaint must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (quotation marks and citation omitted). Where
there are dispositive issues of law, a court may dismiss a
claim regardless of the alleged facts. Marshall Cnty. Bd.
of Educ. v. Marshall Cnty. Gas Dist., 992 F.2d 1171,
1174 (11th Cir. 1993). Construing the allegations in his
complaint liberally, as required with a pro se complaint,
Norris fails to “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); Miller
v. Donald, 541 F.3d 1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008)
(quotation marks and citation omitted) (noting pro se
complaints are held to a less stringent standard).
alleges the Defendants “discriminate[d] against [him]
because of [his] race” in violation of § 1981.
Doc. 1 ¶¶ 6, 9. “[Section] 1981 . . .
protects the equal right of ‘[a]ll persons within the
jurisdiction of the United States' to ‘make and
enforce contracts' without respect to race.”
Domino's Pizza, Inc. v. McDonald, 546 U.S. 470,
474-75 (2006) (quoting § 1981(a)). “[M]ake and
enforce contracts” is defined as “the making,
performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and
the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and
conditions of the contractual relationship.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981(b). To state a claim for relief under §
1981, a plaintiff must allege: “(1) that the plaintiff
is a member of a racial minority; (2) that the defendant
intended to discriminate on the basis of race; and (3) that
the discrimination concerned one or more of the activities
enumerated in the statute.” Kinnon v. Arcoub,
Gopman & Assocs., Inc., 490 F.3d 886, 891 (11th Cir.
2007) (quotation marks omitted) (quoting Jackson v.
BellSouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1270 (11th Cir.
2004)); see also Lopez v. Target Corp., 676 F.3d
1230, 1233 (11th Cir. 2012). Therefore, it is not enough for
a plaintiff to allege discrimination but he “must
identify an impaired contractual relationship . . . under
which the plaintiff has rights.” Kinnon, 490
F.3d at 890 (quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Domino's Pizza, 546 U.S. at 476). As stated,
Norris alleges the Defendants intentionally discriminated
against him based on his race, but provides no facts to
support those allegations. Doc. 1 ¶ 9. Moreover, Norris
does not allege any contractual relationship impaired by the
Defendant's alleged discrimination. Accordingly, Norris
does not state a claim for relief under § 1981.
on the foregoing, the Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
Norris's Title VII claim is DISMISSED without prejudice
for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Additionally,
Norris's § 1981 claim is DISMISSED without prejudice
for failure to state a claim. The only remaining claims are
state law claims. Because the Court has dismissed all claims
over which it has original jurisdiction, the Court declines
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Norris's state
law claims for “malicious interference with contractual
relations” and “interference with business or
employment relations.” Doc. 1 ¶ 6; see 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). Accordingly, those claims are
DISMISSED without prejudice.