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Roan v. Ensminger

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville

October 3, 2017

PATRICK ROAN, Plaintiff
v.
DEREK B. ENSMINGER; DEAN MASON, Defendants

          Crenshaw Chief Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOE B. BROWN United States Magistrate Judge.

         For the reasons stated below the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Plaintiff's motion to dismiss (Docket Entry 6) be granted and this case be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a cause of action.

         BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff filed a 35-page complaint and paid the filing fee on August 22, 2017. As an initial matter it is somewhat difficult to determine who the Plaintiff has suited. He has captioned the case as against D. Ensminger, Associate General Counsel, Sonic Restaurants Inc., 300 Johnny Bench Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, however in paragraph 3 he lists Dean Mason in Ashland City, as the sole Defendant. He alleges that he was employed by Sonic Restaurants, Inc. (SRI) at Ashland City, Tennessee, and was discriminated against on or about September 22, 2015. He alleges that he filed a complaint with the Department of Tennessee Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charging the Defendant with acts of discrimination and received his right-to-sue letter from the EEOC on May 24, 2017 (Docket Entry 1-1). He alleged that the discrimination was based on his race and sex. He also alleges a defamation of character and breach of contract. He alleged that the action of discrimination was:

Mr. Dean Mason had the Ashland City Police Department all over me. It was his friend Johnny Hunter. Afer I was found not guilty I sat at home for 16 days waiting to talk to Human Resources for the first time. Then when I did, Mrs. Nancy didn't even know that Dean Mason had done all this. The only black American. Mrs. Nancy Welch never ever did a report from me. She just asked me to write a statement on how the story happened to me from Mr. Dean Mason. She did reply that she had “NO” clue that this happened or even going on. When Mr. Dean Mason found out that this deposit was missing on August 7, 2015, the video should have been pulled then. If I was in the wrong on anything, I should have been arrested and taken to jail.

         Plaintiff requests damages in the amount of $20 million, as punitive damages, but does not otherwise claim any damages in paragraph 11. The Plaintiff attaches some 20 additional pages to his complaint, including a letter addressed to the Magistrate Judge noting that he did have lost wages. He gave some additional explanation that the Defendant Mason called Mr. Holder of the Ashland City Police Department to complain about a theft, which apparently he believed Mr. Mason held him responsible for. He stated that the police department found him not guilty of any theft by August 19, 2015, and that no charges were ever filed against him. He stayed at home at the direction of Human Resources for several days and that no one ever found who took the missing deposit. His letter goes on to explain that the entire incident began when there was a $1, 400 deposit from the restaurant missing on August 4, 2015.

         The Plaintiff denied to all concerned that he had any responsibility for the missing deposit. He goes on to explain that on August 17, 2015, Mr. Mason and another individual tore his time card in two and told him that he was under investigation and that if he was not found at fault by then he would be given his job back (Docket Entry 1, pp. 6-15).[1]

         The Plaintiff also attached to his complaint a notice of suspension pending an internal investigation (Docket Entry 1, p. 16). The suspension notice states,

* If found to be without fault, you will be reinstated with pay for lost time;
* If found to be partially at fault, you may be reinstated without pay for lost time and may receive a written counseling; or
* If found to be in violation of policies or procedures, we will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of your employment or partnership.

         The Plaintiff, at page 19 of his complaint, attaches page 3 of what appears to be a longer report from Deborah K. Walker. Ms. Walker appears to be an investigator with the EEOC. This page refers to a surveillance video that allegedly shows the Plaintiff opened the safe and removed the cash drawer and the deposit bag was visible on top of the drawer. It further states that when he returned into camera view the deposit bag was no longer on top of the cash drawer. It concludes that a few minutes later two other employees found the deposit bag underneath the tray and gave the deposit bag to the Plaintiff. Apparently, he has written in that this is not true.

         The report goes on to conclude that the restaurant terminated the Plaintiff since the evidence overwhelmingly indicated that (1) he was in possession of the deposit bag the morning of August 4, 2015, and (2) because he was unable ...


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