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Frazier v. Collins

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division

February 26, 2019

CARSTEAN FRAZIER, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHELLE COLLINS, Defendant.

          ORDER

          HUGH LAWSON HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Carstean Frazier filed this pro se lawsuit against Defendant Michelle Collins alleging that she was discriminated against in her employment on the basis of her race, color, gender/sex, national origin, and age. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Defendant moves the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, arguing that Plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient facts to establish that Defendant was her employer at any time and that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies and to satisfy the conditions precedent to filing a discrimination lawsuit. The Court notified Plaintiff that Defendant filed a motion seeking dismissal of her claims and provided Plaintiff with the opportunity to respond (Doc. 10), which she has now done. (Doc. 11). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 6).

         I. FACTS

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint utilizing the Court's standard Complaint for Employment Discrimination form. (Doc. 1).[1] She additionally attached a brief statement of facts. (Id. at p. 3-4). Plaintiff's factual allegations are limited to the following:

         Plaintiff previously worked as a volunteer. Plaintiff does not state the exact dates of her volunteer work or for whom she was volunteering, but a complete reading of Plaintiff's allegations suggests that she was volunteering at Archbold Medical Center sometime in 2006, which Plaintiff explains is when she was “infect[ed] on the job.” (Id. at p. 3). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Michelle Collins, an employee at Archbold Medical Center, did not hire Plaintiff because Plaintiff is a black female. Instead Defendant hired a man, who was married to a white woman known to Defendant. Plaintiff contends that Defendant discriminated against her on the basis of her race, color, gender/sex, national origin, and age by failing to promote her and by failing to accommodate her disability. (Id. at p. 2).

         II. MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARD

         When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court shall accept “all well-pleaded facts . . . as true, and the reasonable inferences therefrom are construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc., 187 F.3d 1271, 1273 n.1 (11th Cir. 1999). The court must dismiss the complaint if, “on the basis of a dispositive issue of law, no construction of the factual allegations will support the cause of action.” Marshall Cnty. Bd. of Educ. v. Marshall Cnty. Gas Dist., 992 F.2d 1171, 1174 (11th Cir. 1993) (citing Executive 100, Inc. v. Martin County, 992 F.2d 1536, 1539 (11th Cir. 1991) and Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 682 (1946)). Accordingly, to avoid dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). But a pro se complaint “is to be liberally construed, ” and “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)). Nevertheless, a district court is not required to exempt a pro se litigant from complying with the relevant rules of procedure and substantive law. Wayne v. Jarvis, 197 F.3d 1098, 1104 (11th Cir. 1999) (overruled on other grounds by Manders v. Lee, 338 F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 2003)).

         Defendant attached to her motion to dismiss a number of documents, including her personal affidavit (Doc. 6-10); several orders from the State Board of Workers' Compensation (Docs. 6-2-6-9); and a deposition transcript from a February 11, 2012 deposition of Plaintiff in relation to a workers' compensation claim (Doc. 8). A court “generally may not look beyond the pleadings” to consider extrinsic documents when ruling on a motion to dismiss. United States ex rel. Osheroff v. Humana, Inc., 776 F.3d 805, 811 (11th Cir. 2015). However, “a district court may consider an extrinsic document even on Rule 12(b)(6) review if it is (1) central to the plaintiff's claim and (2) its authenticity is not challenged.” Id. (citing SFM Holdings, Ltd. V. Banc of Am. Sec., LLC, 600 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2010)). A district court may also “consider judicially noticed documents.” Id. (citing Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc., 187 F.3d 1271, 1278 (11th Cir. 1999)).

         Plaintiff has not objected to the authenticity of any of the documents submitted by Defendant. However, even though the Court finds that it may consider the extrinsic documents provided by Defendant, the Court concludes that reference to these documents is not necessary to resolve the present motion to dismiss, and the Court's analysis of the motion is not based on any of these outside documents.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff, a black woman, alleges that Defendant discriminated against her on the basis of her race and her sex.[2] While Plaintiff does not specifically invoke the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), both Defendant and the Court interpret Plaintiff's allegations as asserting a claim for employment discrimination under Title VII. Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Complaint is subject to dismissal because (1) Plaintiff has never been employed by Defendant; and (2) even if Plaintiff was employed by Defendant, Plaintiff did not properly exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing her lawsuit.[3] In response, Plaintiff states simply that she does not wish for her case to be dismissed.

         A. Employer

         Defendant agues that Plaintiff's claims against her should be dismissed because Plaintiff has not adequately pled that Defendant was ever her employer. Perhaps the more pertinent question, and one that can be answered by looking strictly at Plaintiff's Complaint, is whether Plaintiff was ever an employee.

         Title VII prohibits an employer from “discharg[ing] any individual, or otherwise [ ] discriminat[ing] against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). While the “statute does not define ‘individual, '” the Eleventh Circuit has “held that only those plaintiffs who are ‘employees' may bring” a discrimination lawsuit. Llampallas v. Mini-Circuits, Lab, Inc., 163 ...


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