United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
RAYFIELD L. BARNEMAN, Plaintiff,
INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMAN ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 1423; SSA COOPER, LLC; MARINE TERMINAL CORPORATION-EAST; ATLANTIC RO-RO STEVEDORING, LLC; APS STEVEDORING LLC; and GEORGIA STEVEDORING ASSOCIATION, Defendants.
LISA GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Matter comes before the Court on the Motions to Dismiss of
Defendants APS Stevedoring, LLC ("APS"), Atlantic
Ro-Ro Stevedoring, LLC ("Atlantic Ro-Ro"), Georgia
Stevedoring Association ("GSA"), Marine Terminals
Corporation-East ("Marine Terminals"), and SSA
Cooper, LLC ("SSA Cooper"), pursuant to Rules
12(b)(4), 12(b)(5), and 12(b)(6). Dkt. Nos. 17, 31, 34, 37,
40. These Motions have been fully briefed and are now ripe
for review. See Dkt. Nos. 24, 45, 46, 47, 48.
stage of the case, the facts are taken from Plaintiff's
complaint and assumed to be true, according to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff Rayfield Barneman has
peripheral neuropathy. Dkt. No. 1, 8 ¶ 2. For six years,
he has used a seat cushion to alleviate pain and slow the
degradation of his condition. Id. On March 15, 2016,
non-party Richard Nixon issued a memo at Barneman's
workplace stating that no personal items were
allowed inside the automobiles used as part of Barneman's
was terminated on April 9, 2016 for having a seat cushion in
his vehicle. Id. at 8 ¶ 3. Following
Plaintiff's termination, two attending physicians then
submitted letters stating that his medical condition of
peripheral neuropathy required the use of a seat cushion.
Id. With the letters, Barneman then submitted a
request for a written accommodation. Id. Norman
Massey denied the request on May 18, 2016, prompting Barneman
to file a grievance with the International Longshoreman
Association Local 1423 ("ILA") Union that same day.
Id. A grievance hearing was convened that included
representatives from ILA, SSA Cooper, APS, and GSA. Dkt. No.
5 ¶ 7. The Complaint seems to indicate that Barneman was
rehired, as it alleges that he was granted a reasonable
accommodation on July 21, 2016. Dkt. No. 1 p. 5 ¶ E. One
day, on August 16, 2016, Barneman was at work awaiting a van
with his seat cushion to arrive. Dkt. No. 5 ¶ 10. The
van never came. Id. Barneman was then terminated on
October 17, 2017, because he would not get into a van
without a seat cushion. Id. ¶ 12. Barneman also
alleges that his colleague Oscar Brown, who is much younger
than Barneman, was treated more favorably than Barneman:
Barneman was not allowed to have his seat cushion into the
vehicles; Brown was allowed to bring his backpack.
Id. at ¶ 10.
these events, Barneman filed a charge with the EEOC on
October 28, 2016. Id. at ¶ IV. The EEOC issued
a right to sue letter on February 6, 2017, which appears to
indicate that the charge named ILA as the respondent. Dkt.
No. 5-12. The EEOC issued a second dismissal and a right to
sue letter on August 2, 2017, which appears to name GSA as
the respondent. Dkt. No. 16 ¶23, 3.
filed suit in this Court against ILA on May 3, 2017, alleging
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA") and the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act ("ADEA"). Dkt. No. 1. On May 22, 2017, he added
SSA Cooper, "Marine Terminals", Atlantic Ro-Ro,
APS, and GSA as defendants. Dkt. No. 5.
Second Amended Complaint alleges that ILA is a collective
bargaining unit for Plaintiff. Dkt. No. 16 ¶ 25. It has
entered into collective bargaining agreements with GSA,
SSA-Cooper, Marine Terminal, Atlantic Ro-Ro, and APS.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a plaintiff's
complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). In order to state a claim for relief, a
plaintiff's complaint must include "enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."
Bell Atlantic 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). The Court accepts the allegations
in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences
in favor of the plaintiff. Ray v. Spirit Airlines,
Inc., 836 F.3d 1340, 1347 (11th Cir. 2016). However, the
Court does not accept as true threadbare recitations of the
elements of the claim and disregards legal conclusions
unsupported by factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678-79. At a minimum, a complaint should "contain
either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the
material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some
viable legal theory." Fin. Sec. Assurance, Inc. v.
Stephens, Inc., 500 F.3d 1276, 1282-83 (11th Cir. 2007)
(per curiam) (quoting Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice,
Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001)).
document filed pro se is 'to be liberally
construed, [and] a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'"
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see
also Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(f) ("All pleadings shall be so
construed as to do substantial justice.") .
of administrative remedies is a matter that should be raised
in a motion to dismiss. Basel v. Sec'y of Def.,
507 Fed.Appx. 873, 874 (11th Cir. 2013) (per curiam).
"[I]t is permissible for a district court to consider
facts outside of the pleadings and resolve factual disputes
so long as the factual disputes do not decide the merits and
the parties are given sufficient opportunity to develop a
record." Id. at 874-75.
(except ILA) have raised several arguments for dismissal.
First, SSA-Cooper, Marine Terminals, Atlantic Ro-Ro, and APS
argue that the claims against them should be dismissed for
failure to exhaust administrative remedies because they were
not named in either of the charges Barneman filed with the
EEOC. Second, GSA argues that the claims against it should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim because the complaint
does not directly tie the complained of actions to GSA.
Third, GSA argues that the claims against it should be
dismissed because it is not an employer under the ADA or the
ADEA. Fourth, SSA Cooper argues that it should be dismissed
because it was never summoned before this Court in this
action. Fifth, SSA Cooper, Marine Terminals, ...