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Paige v. Pellerin Milnor Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

April 5, 2017

RENÉ PAIGE
v.
PELLERIN MILNOR CORPORATION

          ORDER AND REASONS ON MOTION

          JOSEPH C. WILKINSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This is an employment discrimination action brought by plaintiff René Paige against his former employer, Pellerin Milnor Corporation (“Pellerin”), asserting claims of disability discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; and unlawful interference with plaintiff's rights under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. 1140. Complaint, Record Doc. No. 1. This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for all proceedings and entry of judgment in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) upon written consent of all parties. Record Doc. No. 16.

         Pellerin filed a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss all of plaintiff's claims. Record Doc. No. 13. Paige filed a timely opposition memorandum, Record Doc. No. 10, and Pellerin received leave to file a reply memorandum. Record Doc. Nos. 19, 20, 21. Having considered the complaint, the record, the arguments of the parties and the applicable law, and for the following reasons, IT IS ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as follows.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         Defendant moves under Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss plaintiff's claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Under this rule, as recently clarified by the Supreme Court,

“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” A claim for relief is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” A claim for relief is implausible on its face when “the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.”

Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 796 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007))).

         “The Supreme Court's decisions in Iqbal and Twombly . . . did not alter the longstanding requirement that when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept[ ] all well-pleaded facts as true and view[ ] those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Id. at 803 n.44 (quotation omitted); accord Murchison Capital Partners, L.P. v. Nuance Commc'ns, Inc., 625 F. App'x 617, 618 n.1 (5th Cir. 2015) (citing Wood v. Moss, 134 S.Ct. 2056, 2065 n.5 (2014)).

         “With respect to any well-pleaded allegations ‘a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.'” Jabary v. City of Allen, 547 F. App'x 600, 604 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Maloney Gaming Mgmt., L.L.C. v. St. Tammany Parish, 456 F. App'x 336, 340 (5th Cir. 2011) (quotations omitted) (citing Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1959; Elsensohn v. St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Ofc., 530 F.3d 368, 371 (5th Cir. 2008); In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 n.10 (5th Cir. 2007)).

         B. Title VII Claims

         Although Paige's complaint asserts a claim under Title VII that Pellerin retaliated against him “because of his disability, ” Record Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 38, Title VII prohibits employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), but not disability. In turn, Title VII's anti-retaliation provision “forbids employer actions that ‘discriminate against' an employee . . . because he has ‘opposed' a practice that Title VII forbids . . . .'” Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 58 (2006) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a)). The anti-retaliation provision thus “prevent[s] an employer from interfering (through retaliation) with an employee's efforts to secure or advance enforcement of [Title VII's] basic guarantees.” Id. at 63.

         Because Paige does not allege that he engaged in any activity based on any of the characteristics protected by Title VII, he cannot state a retaliation claim under that statute. Further, he is barred from attempting to do so now, as he did not file a charge of race, color, religion, sex or national origin discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days of the last discriminatory employment action, which is a prerequisite to the filing of a discrimination lawsuit under Title VII in a federal court in Louisiana. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 109 (2002); Hartz v. Adm'rs of Tulane Educ. Fund, 275 F. App'x 281, 287 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-5(e), 2000e-5(f)(1)) (additional citations omitted). Because more than 300 days have passed since Paige was fired on January 11, 2016, he cannot file a charge of race, color, religion, sex or national origin discrimination now, and his Title VII claims, if any, must be dismissed. Morgan, 536 U.S. at 113; Martin v. Lennox Int'l Inc., 342 F. App'x 15, 18 (5th Cir. 2009); Stith v. Perot Sys. Corp., 122 F. App'x 115, 117 (5th Cir. 2009); Tyler v. Union Oil Co., 304 F.3d 379, 382, 391 (5th Cir. 2002).

         However, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, and retaliation for having opposed disability discrimination or exercised any right granted or protected by the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a). The ADA incorporates the remedies provided in Title VII. Mathes v. Harris Cty., 31 F. App'x 835 (5th Cir. ...


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