United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
commenced the above-captioned case pro se and is
proceeding in forma pauperis (“IFP”).
Because she is proceeding IFP, Plaintiff's 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) & (ii).
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
names as Defendants (1) Jason Medlin; (2) Jeanice Barrett;
(3) Richmond County School System; (4) Fletcher, Harley &
Fletcher, LLP; and (5) Richmond County Board of Education.
(Doc. no. 1, p. 1.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual
allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the
present screening, the facts are as follows.
is a high school teacher at Richmond Academy, which is in the
Richmond County School System. (Id. at 2.) Defendant
Jason Medlin is the principal of Richmond Academy and
Defendant Jeanice Barrett is the bookkeeper. (Id.)
On February 11, 2019, Ms. Barrett sent Plaintiff an email
regarding recent Certificates of Absences
(“COAs”) submitted to payroll without
Plaintiff's signature. (Id. at 3.) Ms. Barrett
submitted the COAs, dated January 11, 2019, to payroll on
February 6, 2019, but were not sent to Plaintiff to be signed
until February 11, 2019. (Id.) Plaintiff requested
the opportunity to inspect the documents prior to signing
them. (Id.) Upon her review, she found multiple
issues with the COAs, such as being backdated, being keyed in
electronically before submission to Plaintiff, no signature,
and the hours were not exact. (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges Mr. Medlin and Ms. Barrett tried to conceal these
discrepancies by telling Plaintiff the hours on the COAs were
correct and there was no reason to question it.
(Id.) Mr. Medlin also stated Ms. Barrett submitted
the COAs to payroll without giving Plaintiff a chance to
review them first. (Id.)
February 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the
Department of Labor, Wage and Hours Division, about the
discrepancies in her pay and the falsified payroll documents.
(Id.) Plaintiff then asked Mr. Medlin to return all
her money to her account, and Mr. Medlin responded by
ordering Plaintiff to sign the COAs. (Id.) Plaintiff
said she would not sign them, and Mr. Medlin threatened
Plaintiff with disciplinary action. (Id.) Mr. Medlin
also threatened to take disciplinary action against Plaintiff
for September 2018 COAs. On February 5, 2019, Mr. Medlin
pulled Plaintiff out of teaching her class to discuss the
January 2019 COAs and tried to force Plaintiff to sign a
document written by Mr. Medlin stating she agreed with his
told Mr. Medlin that Ms. Barrett's actions constituted
fraud and theft by deception, and she threatened to file a
complaint against the school system if the money was not in
her account by February 29, 2019. (Id.) At some
point, Plaintiff sent an email to Mr. Medlin with several
unanswered questions concerning the discrepancies in the
COAs. (Id.) Mr. Medlin refused to answer the
questions and insisted Plaintiff sign the COAs.
alleges Defendants Medlin and Barrett's actions
constitute harassment that began in September 2018 when
Plaintiff overheard Defendants Medlin and Barrett talking
negatively about her and another teacher, who was pregnant at
the time and no longer works at the school. (Id. at
4.) Up to the date of filing this case, no one has explained
to Plaintiff why Ms. Barrett fraudulently backdated documents
to payroll that docked her pay or why Ms. Barrett put
February absences on January forms or January absences on
November forms. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges Defendants
Medlin and Richmond County School System's ongoing
actions constitute workplace harassment, and Plaintiff has a
problem with Ms. Barrett every day. (Id.) Plaintiff
further alleges she is harassed every day by Defendants
Medlin and Richmond County School System.
seeks an injunction against Defendants Barrett, Medlin, and
Richmond County School System for fraudulently submitting
documents to payroll and deducting money out of her check
without her knowledge. (Id.) Additionally, she seeks
back pay, front pay, attorney's fees, punitive damages,
and special damages in excess of two million dollars from
each Defendant individually and in their professional
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
Fed.Appx. 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 ...