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Galloway v. University of Tennessee at Knoxville

August 2, 2007

ANNE GALLOWAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT KNOXVILLE, MARK ROZANSKI, AND JAMES DITTRICH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas W. Phillips United States District Judge

Phillips/Guyton

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION

The matter before the Court involves allegations of employment discrimination. The defendants have filed a motion for partial dismissal of plaintiff's claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [Doc. 8]. The plaintiff has filed a response in opposition [Doc. 13], and the defendants have replied. For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion to dismiss [Doc. 8] is GRANTED in its entirety.

I. Facts

As the law requires, all disputed facts and inferences are resolved most favorably to the plaintiff. Furthermore, the Court merely provides relevant facts for the purposes of this opinion.

In February of 2004, plaintiff Ann Galloway ("Galloway") began employment at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville ("University of Tennessee") as a Program Resource Specialist in the University Center. On March 14, 2006, Galloway was effectively terminated. Thereafter, Galloway commenced this action against the University; Mark Rozanski ("Rozanski"), the Assistant Director of the University Center and plaintiff's immediate supervisor; and James Dittrich ("Dittrich"), the Director of the University Center. Galloway's complaint contains allegation of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and retaliation, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). Plaintiff also appears to assert a cause of action under the Tennessee Human Rights Act ("THRA"), Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 4-21-101 et seq.

II. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, requires a court to construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all the complaint's factual allegations as true, and determine whether the plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in support of claims that would entitle him or her to relief. Meador v. Cabinet for Human Resources, 902 F.2d 474, 475 (6th Cir. 1990) cert. denied, 498 U.S. 867 (1990). A court may not grant such a motion to dismiss based upon a disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations. Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990); Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995) (noting that courts should not weigh evidence or evaluate the credibility of witnesses). A court must liberally construe the complaint in favor of the party opposing the motion. Id. However, the complaint must articulate more than a bare assertion of legal conclusions. Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434 (6th Cir. 1988). "[The] complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Id. (citations omitted).

III. Motion to Dismiss and Applicable Law

Defendants have moved this Court for an order (a) dismissing claims against all defendants based on alleged violations of the THRA on the grounds that they are barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (b) dismissing claims against defendants Rozanski and Dittrich based on alleged violations of Title VII on the grounds that Title VII does not provide for individual liability; and (c) dismissing Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages because the 1991 amendments to Title VII do not provide for punitive damages against a governmental agency such as the University of Tennessee. These issues are addressed in turn below.

A. Eleventh Amendment*fn1

1. The University of Tennessee

Construing the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, plaintiff alleges two claim under the THRA, in addition to her Title VII claims for hostile work environment based upon sexual harassment and retaliation. After an examination of the record and applicable law, plaintiff's claims under the THRA must ...


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