United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
commenced the above-captioned employment discrimination case
pro se and is proceeding in forma pauperis
(“IFP”). Because she is proceeding IFP,
Plaintiff's amended complaint must be screened to protect
potential Defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d
782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984). Pleadings drafted by pro
se litigants must be liberally construed, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), but the Court may
dismiss a complaint, or any part thereof, that is frivolous
or malicious or that fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) &
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
September 15, 1989, Defendant University Hospital hired
Plaintiff as a unit clerk. (Doc. no. 1, p. 11.) On May 15,
2016, Plaintiff was removed from her shift and the shift was
given to another unit clerk who was of a lighter complexion.
(Id.) On May 27, 2016, Plaintiff told Defendant
Dannette Thomas, her immediate supervisor, that she felt she
was being treated differently. (Id.) On the same
day, at an unspecified time, Defendant issued three written
citations to Plaintiff, which Plaintiff refused to sign.
(Id. at 7.) These citations were false, Plaintiff
claims, and unfairly disqualified her from a pay raise or
bonus as an act of retaliation. (Id.) Plaintiff
reported her concerns to the human resources department and
told Defendant Mason that she “fear[ed] for [her] job
of twenty-seven years.” Id. at 7. On October
27, 2016, Plaintiff was discharged. (Id. at 11.)
alleges unidentified employees were not subject to the same
attendance and leave policies, but does not describe these
policies. (Id. at 6-7.) In Plaintiff's EEOC
charge, Plaintiff alleges she was discriminated against in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
(Id. at 10.) The EEOC was unable to conclude
Defendants had violated any statutes, but notified Plaintiff
of her right to bring a federal lawsuit within ninety days.
(Id. at 9.) Plaintiff timely filed this suit within
ninety days of receiving her right to sue letter.
Legal Standard for Screening
amended complaint or any portion thereof may be dismissed if
it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, of if it seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune to such relief. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A claim is frivolous if it
“lacks an arguable basis either in law or in
fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327
(1989). Moreover, “[f]ailure to state a claim under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard as
dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6).” Wilkerson v. H & S, Inc., 366
F. App'x 49, 51 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell v.
Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997)).
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, the allegations in the complaint must
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). That is,
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. While Rule 8(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require detailed
factual allegations, “it demands more than an
unadorned, the defendant unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
complaint is insufficient if it “offers ‘labels
and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, '” or if it
“tenders ‘naked assertions' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'” Id.
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). In short,
the complaint must provide a “‘plain
statement' possess[ing] enough heft to ‘sho[w] that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
the court affords a liberal construction to a pro se
litigant's pleadings, holding them to a more lenient
standard than those drafted by an attorney. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, this liberal
construction does not mean that the court has a duty to
re-write the complaint. Snow v. DirecTV, Inc., 450
F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).
Defendants Mason and Thomas Should Be Dismissed.
has brought her Title VII claims against individual
defendants Mason and Thomas in addition to University
Hospital, her employer. However, the relief granted under
Title VII is against the employer, not individual employees
who violated the Act. Busby v. City of Orlando, 931
F.2d 764, 772 (11th Cir. 1991). Thus, individual capacity
suits under Title VII are inappropriate, and the only proper
defendant in a Title VII suit is the employer or supervisory
employees in their official capacities as agents of the
employer. Id. To the extent Plaintiff names
Defendants Thomas or Mason in their official capacities as
supervisory employees, her claims are redundant because she
has already named her employer, Defendant University
Hospital. Busby, 931 F.2d at 776; Wheeles v.
Nelson's Elec. Motor Servs., 559 F.Supp.2d 1260,
1267 (M.D. Ala. 2008) (“However, when a plaintiff names
both the employer and the individual supervisor in his
official capacity, the supervisor may be dismissed from the
action.”). Thus, Plaintiff's Title VII claims
against Defendants Mason and Thomas, in either capacity, are
inappropriate or redundant and these Defendants should be
Defendant Mason should be dismissed for the additional reason
that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against her.
Plaintiff's only allegation against Defendant Mason is
that Plaintiff told her that she feared for her job. (Doc.
no. 1, p. 7.) This statement fails to connect Defendant Mason
with any type of misconduct. See Douglas v. Yates,535 F.3d 1316, 1322 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Pamel Corp.
v. P.R. Highway Auth.,621 F.2d 33, 36 (1st Cir. 1980)
(“While we do not require technical niceties in
pleading, we must demand that the complaint state with some
minimal particularity how overt acts of the defendant caused
a legal wrong.”)); see also Brooks v. CSX Transp.,
Inc., 3:09-CV-379-J-32HTS, 2009 WL 3208708, at *4 (M.D.
Fla. Sept. 29, 2009) (dismissal of three individual
defendants from employment discrimination suit was
appropriate, in part, because plaintiffs ...