United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
JAMES D. RILES, Plaintiff,
AUGUSTA-RICHMOND COUNTY COMMISSION, ROBERT LEVINE, JOANIE SMITH, and RONALD HOUCK, Defendants.
RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court in the captioned matter are three separate motions
to dismiss filed by Defendants Augusta-Richmond County
Commission,  Joanie Smith, and Ronald Houck. While the
motions to dismiss purport to seek dismissal of
Plaintiff's entire complaint, the arguments therein only
address certain of Plaintiff's claims. The motions have
been fully briefed and are ripe for consideration.
December 27, 2016, Plaintiff James D. Riles, through counsel,
filed the instant employment discrimination case. The
complaint alleges that Plaintiff has been an employee of the
County for 11 years with the Recreation, Parks, and
Facilities Department. (Compl., ¶ 10.) Plaintiff applied
for but was denied the position of Facilities Supervisor on
or about February 6, 2014. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.)
Plaintiff, a black male, claims he was qualified for the
position but was denied because of his race. (Id.
¶¶ 13-16, 19.) On February 19, 2014, Plaintiff
filed a complaint with the Augusta-Richmond County Equal
Employment Opportunity Office. (Id. ¶ 29.)
Plaintiff further alleges that thereafter, he was denied
other positions within the Recreation, Parks, and Facilities
Department because of his race and in retaliation for filing
the first EEO complaint. (Id. ¶¶ 20-27,
34.) Plaintiff further claims he was denied other positions
in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission in June 2014. (Id.
these allegations, Plaintiff alleges a violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment of the United States Constitution. (Id.
§ 44.) Nevertheless, in the introductory paragraph of
the complaint, Plaintiff cites not only to § 1983 and
the Equal Protection Clause but also "Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq." and "Title I of the Civil Rights
Act of 1991 - 42 U.S.C. § 1981." (Compl. at 1.)
Through their motions to dismiss, Defendants seek to dismiss
any claims under Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991,
which is codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1981a, and §
1981.Moreover, the individual Defendants, Smith
and Houck, seek dismissal of the official capacity claims
against them as duplicative of the claims against the County,
and they seek dismissal of any claims against them in their
individual capacities. The Court will now resolve these
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) does not test whether the plaintiff will ultimately
prevail on the merits of the case. Rather, it tests the legal
sufficiency of the complaint. Scheur v. Rhodes, 416
U.S. 232, 236 (1974) . Therefore, the court must accept as
true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. See Hoffman-Pugh v. Ramsey. 312 F.3d
1222, 1225 (11th Cir. 2002). The court, however,
need not accept the complaint's legal conclusions as
true, only its well-pled facts. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009).
complaint also must "contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, 'to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Id. at 678 (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). The plaintiff is required to plead “factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. Although there is no probability
requirement at the pleading stage, "something beyond . .
. mere possibility . . . must be alleged."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-57 (citing Durma
Pharm., Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 347 (2005)). When,
however, on the basis of a dispositive issue of law, no
construction of the factual allegations of the complaint will
support the cause of action, dismissal of the complaint is
appropriate. See Executive 100, Inc. v. Martin
Cnty., 922 F.2d 1536, 1539 (11thCir. 1991).
42 U.S.C. § 1981
1981 provides that “[a]ll persons . . . shall have the
same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce
contracts . . . as is enjoyed by white citizens."
However, § 1981 does not provide an independent cause of
action against state actors. Butts v. Cnty. of
Volusia, 222 F.3d 891, 894 (11th Cir. 2000).
Rather, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the exclusive federal remedy
for violations by state actors of the rights guaranteed by
§ 1981. Bryant v. Jones, 575 F.3d 1281, 1288
n.l (11th Cir. 2009) (citing Butts, 222
F.3d at 894-95) . Plaintiff's complaint sets forth a
§ 1983 claim wherein he claims that Defendants have
violated his equal protection rights as guaranteed by the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Any
§ 1981 claim Plaintiff has attempted to bring merges
into his § 1983 claim. Accordingly, Defendants'
motions to dismiss any § 1981 claim are hereby GRANTED.
42 U.S.C. § 1981a
§ 1981a broadened the remedies available to successful
Title VII litigants. See 42 U.S.C. § 1981a,
2000e-5(g). It does not provide an independent cause of
action. Satterfield v. Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of
Ala., 2016 WL 6916828 (N.D. Ala. Feb. 26, 2016);
King v. Fulton Cnty. of Ga., 2009 WL 1322341
(N.D.Ga. May 11, 2009). Accordingly, Defendants' motions
to dismiss any § 1981a claim are hereby