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Ballew v. Covenant Health Corp

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

April 6, 2017

IVY BALLEW, Plaintiff,



         This civil case is before the Court on defendant's motion to dismiss [Doc. 5]. Pro se plaintiff did not respond to the motion to dismiss, and her time in which to do so has expired. See E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1. For the reasons contained herein, the Court will grant defendant's motion to dismiss.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff initiated the present action by filing a complaint with this Court on July 14, 2016 [Doc. 1]. As grounds for suit, the complaint alleges age, color, and disability discrimination, as well as violations of the Equal Pay Act [Id. at 1, 3]. To support these allegations, the complaint alleges only the following facts:

Discrimination 45 yrs old African American went out on FMLA in 12-2015 to surgery[.] Returned to work I was written up 1st suspended for 3 days told I was unsatisfactory worked fired 2 weeks after Returning to work[.] Job given to white 22 year old female. This person has violated HIPAA laws but continues to work there. Worked Weekend shift 7am-7pm with no Lunch Break or 15 min breaks [Id. at 2].

         Plaintiff also attached to the complaint a Dismissal and Notice of Rights issued to her by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) [Doc. 1-1]. Although plaintiff did not attach the EEOC charge itself, defendant included plaintiff's EEOC charge as an attachment to its motion to dismiss [Doc. 5-1]. In her EEOC charge, plaintiff alleged the following:

I was hired by the above-named employer as a Help Information Specialist. The company employs at least 15 employees.
I went on FMLA to cover me when I was off work for my disability. When I returned to work, I was still under FMLA and requested a reasonable accommodation. The accommodation consisted of me requesting a modified work schedule. Even though the company reasonably accommodated me, I began to be harassed and disciplined once I was on my modified schedule. I was disciplined for an incident that took place in October of 2015 but wasn't disciplined until January 15, 2016. I was disciplined for three incidents at the same time and suspended on January 19, 2016. After the suspension, I was off work for my disability on January 29, 2016. When I returned to work I was terminated for false reasons.
I believe that I have been discriminated and retaliated against because of my disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008. [Id. at 1].

         Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss, arguing that to the extent plaintiff alleges discrimination because of age or color, these claims must be dismissed because they were not raised in the EEOC charge. Furthermore, defendant argues that with respect to disability discrimination, the complaint does not set forth any facts identifying any disability, or any facts involving discrimination against plaintiff on the basis of that disability. Finally, defendant argues that the complaint fails to allege any facts stating a claim under the Equal Pay Act.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) sets out a liberal pleading standard. To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need contain only a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ‘in order to give [the opposing party] fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but a party's “obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions.” Id. “[A] formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do, ” nor will “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the claimant, accept all factual allegations as true, draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the claimant, and determine whether the complaint contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads the factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When considering a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court “may consider the complaint and any exhibits attached thereto, public records, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they are referred to in the Complaint and are central to the claims contained therein.” Basset v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008). However, when considering a complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff, courts give the complaint a “liberal construction.” See Kennedy v. First NLC Servs., LLC, No. 08-12504, 2009 WL 482715, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 25, 2009).

         III. ...

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