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Ross v. Ceballos

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

July 2, 2015

AMANDA ROSS
v.
ELISABETH CEBALLOS, ET AL

MEMORANDUM RULING

S. MAURICE HICKS, Jr., District Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Record Document 7) filed by Defendants Elisabeth Ceballos and Motel 6 Operating, L.P. ("Defendants"). Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiff Amanda Ross' ("Ross") Title VII lawsuit on the ground that it is untimely and prescribed on the face of the complaint. See id. Ross has opposed the motion. See Record Document 11. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and Ross' complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

BACKGROUND

On July 8, 2014, Ross filed the instant lawsuit asserting claims under Title VII and Louisiana state law. See Record Document 1. Her claims arise out of her employment with Defendant Motel 6 Operating, L.P. and her subsequent termination in July 2010. See id. at ¶¶ 3, 6, 18. Ross filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). See id. at ¶ 22. She received her right to sue letter on February 13, 2013. See id. at ¶ 24.

The instant case is the third lawsuit Ross has filed alleging the same factual allegations. The first lawsuit was filed on December 21, 2010 in the First Judicial District Court for Caddo Parish. See Record Document 1-3 (Ross v. Motel 6 Operating, L.P., et al., 11-cv-0202). The case was removed to this Court on February 3, 2011. See Record Documents 1 & 7 (Ross v. Motel 6 Operating, L.P., et al., 11-cv-0202). A "Joint Stipulation & Notice of Dismissal Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(ii)" was filed on May 12, 2011, stating:

Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(ii), the parties hereby jointly stipulate to the dismissal of the matter entitled "Amanda Ross v. Eilsbeth (sic) Ceballos and Motel 6 Operating, LP, " in its entirety and WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

Record Document 18 (Ross v. Motel 6 Operating, L.P., et al., 11-cv-0202).

Ross' second lawsuit alleging claims under Title VII was filed in the Western District of Louisiana on May 13, 2013. See Record Document 1 (Ross v. Elisabeth Ceballos, et al., 13-cv-1155). On October 18, 2013, an Order of Dismissal pursuant to Local Rule 41.3 was entered because "service of the summons and complaint was not made within 120 days of the institution of this civil action and [Ross] has failed to show good cause for this deficiency." Record Document 8 (Ross v. Elisabeth Ceballos, et al., 13-cv-1155). Ross was given thirty (30) days to reinstate the action for good cause shown, but she failed to do so. See id.

LAW AND ANALYSIS

I. Rule 12(b)(6) Standard.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows for dismissal of an action "for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion does not need detailed factual allegations in order to avoid dismissal, the plaintiff's factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-1965 (2007); see also Cuvillier v. Taylor, 503 F.3d 397, 401 (5th Cir.2007). A plaintiff's obligation "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id . The Supreme Court expounded on the Twombly standard, explaining that a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "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." Id . In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the Court must construe the complaint liberally and accept all of the plaintiff's factual allegations in the complaint as true. See In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2009).

II. Analysis.

Plaintiffs asserting employment discrimination claims under Title VII must exhaust administrative remedies before pursuing claims in federal court. See Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378-379 (5th Cir. 2002). "Exhaustion occurs when the plaintiff files a timely charge with the EEOC and receives a statutory notice of right to sue." Id. at 379. Title 42, United States Code, Section 2000e-5(f)(1) provides that claimants have ninety days to file a civil action after receipt of a right to sue letter from the EEOC. See id. "This requirement to file a lawsuit within the ninety-day limitation period is strictly construed." Id.

Ross does not dispute that she received her right to sue letter on February 13, 2013 and that her 2013 lawsuit was filed within 90 days of receiving such letter. See Record Document 11 at 1. However, she argues that "[b]ecause the original complaint [13-cv-1155] was filed within 90 days of receiving the right to sue letter and was subsequently ...


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