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Turner v. City of Memphis

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

January 3, 2018

THEYER ANN TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF MEMPHIS, Defendant.

          ORDER

          SAMUEL H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant City of Memphis's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Theyer Ann Turner's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and (b)(7). (ECF Nos. 18, 18-16.) Plaintiff responded on October 6, 2017. (ECF No. 32.) Defendant replied on October 26, 2017. (ECF No. 37.)

         For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.

         I. Background

         On October 15, 2015, Turner filed a Charge of Discrimination (the “EEOC Charge”) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”). (EEOC Charge, ECF No. 1-2.) The EEOC Charge alleged that Defendant had engaged in discrimination based on race, disability, and FMLA rights. (Id.) It also alleged that Defendant had retaliated by discharging Turner. (Id.) The EEOC sent Turner a Dismissal and Notice of Rights letter, dated March 30, 2017. (ECF No. 1-3.)[1]

         On June 28, 2017, Turner brought this action against Defendant raising claims of discrimination based on race, disability, FMLA rights, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., as amended by the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, Pub.L. No. 110-325, 122 Stat. 3553 (2008).

         On August 15, 2017, Defendant filed the Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 18.)

         II. Jurisdiction

         Turner brings suit under the ADA and Title VII. The Court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C § 1331. Federal courts do not have jurisdiction over claims brought under the ADA or Title VII “‘unless the claimant explicitly files the claim in an EEOC charge or the claim can reasonably be expected to grow out of the EEOC charge.'” Jones v. Sumser Retirement Village, 209 F.3d 851, 853 (6th Cir. 2000) (quoting Abeita v. Transamerica Mailings, Inc., 159 F.3d 246, 254 (6th Cir. 1998)). Turner filed her EEOC Charge on October 15, 2015. (EEOC Charge, ECF No. 1-2.) Her EEOC Charge alleges discrimination based on race in violation of Title VII, discrimination based on disability in violation of the ADA, and retaliation. (Id.)

         If the alleged discrimination occurred more than 180 days before the plaintiff files an EEOC charge, claims based on that discrimination are barred. See Carson v. Sim, 778 F.Supp.2d 85, 95 (D.D.C. 2011) (ADA claims); Alexander v. Local 496, Laborers' Int'l Union of N. Am., 177 F.3d 394, 407 (6th Cir. 1999) (Title VII claims). “However, if the alleged unlawful practice occurs in a ‘deferral state' . . . which has enacted its own laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, the plaintiff must file suit within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory act.” Alexander, 177 F.3d at 407l; see also Carson, 778 F.Supp.2d at 95 (applying that limitations period to ADA claims). Tennessee is a deferral state. Howlett v. Holiday Inns, Inc., 49 F.3d 189, 197 (6th Cir. 1995). “The three-hundred-day period begins to run from the date of ‘the alleged unlawful employment practice.'” Broadway v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 499 F.Supp.2d 992, 999 (M.D. Tenn. 2007) (internal citation omitted).

         Turner filed her EEOC Charge 290 days after the alleged unlawful termination. Her EEOC Charge was timely. The Court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C § 1331.

         III. Standard of Review

         A. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of a complaint that “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” A Rule 12(b)(6) motion permits the “defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to legal relief even if everything alleged in the complaint is true.” Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993) (citing Nishiyama v. Dickson Cnty., 814 F.2d 277, 279 (6th Cir. 1987)). A motion to dismiss is designed to test whether the plaintiff has pled a cognizable claim and allows the court to dismiss meritless cases that would waste judicial resources and result in unnecessary discovery. See Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988).

         When evaluating a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court must determine whether the complaint alleges “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). If a court decides, in light of its judicial experience and common sense, that the claim is not plausible, the case may be dismissed at the pleading stage. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above [a] speculative level.” Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A claim is plausible on its face if “the plaintiff pleads 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 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations. However, a plaintiff's “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. When deciding a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court may look to “matters of public record, orders, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to the complaint” for guidance. Barany-Snyder v. Weiner, 539 F.3d 327, 332 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting Amini v. Oberlin Coll., 259 F.3d 493, 502 (6th Cir. 2001)).

         B. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Join ...


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