United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the City of New Orleans'
(“City”) motion to dismiss Brenda Ganheart's
lawsuit. R. Doc. No. 7. Ganheart works for the City in the
library. She complains about a series of actions taken by the
library that she alleges violates her rights under Title VII
and/or the Constitution.
lawsuit is not a model of clarity but, as far as the Court
can tell, it appears to assert five claims: (1) a retaliation
claim relating to a 2014 reprimand and demotion, R. Doc. No.
1, at 1; (2) a retaliation claim relating to a 2016 demotion,
R. Doc. No. 1, at 2; (3) a retaliation claim relating to a
2015 performance evaluation, R. Doc. No. 1-1, at 3; (4) a
hostile workplace claim, R. Doc. No. 1, at 2; and (5) a
constitutional due process claim, R. Doc. No. 2, at 1. None
of Ganheart's claims survive the City's motion to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit a defendant to seek a
dismissal of a complaint based on its “failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). The Court accepts as true the well-pled factual
allegations in the complaint, and construes them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. For the complaint to survive
a motion to dismiss, the facts taken as true must state a
claim that is plausible on its face. Brand Coupon
Network, L.L.C. v. Catalina Marketing Corp., 748 F.3d
631, 634 (5th Cir. 2014).
is facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Culbertson v. Lykos, 790 F.3d 608, 616 (5th Cir.
2015) (internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint is
insufficient if it contains “only labels and
conclusions, or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action.” Whitley v. Hanna, 726 F.3d
631, 638 (5th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Ganheart's retaliation claim relating to the 2014
reprimand and demotion is untimely. The complaint and
accompanying documents make clear that the events giving rise
to the first claim occurred before November 12, 2014. R. Doc.
No. 1-1, at 2 (noting actions by former subordinate on
November 12, 2014). Ganheart did not file her EEOC claim
until November 6, 2015. R. Doc. No. 1-1, at 2. As such, the
charge was untimely because it was filed more than 300 days
after the supposedly unlawful employment practice.
Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S.
101, 109 (2002). Therefore, Ganheart's claim regarding
the 2014 reprimand and demotion will be dismissed with
prejudice because granting leave to amend would be frivolous.
Ganheart's 2016 claim suffers from the opposite problem.
Ganheart filed her EEOC charge in 2015, and that charge-for
obvious reasons-did not raise the issue of her 2016 demotion.
As such, Ganheart did not exhaust her administrative remedies
with respect to the 2016 demotion, and so the claim must be
dismissed without prejudice. See Taylor v. Books A
Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378-79 (5th Cir. 2002).
Ganheart's retaliation claim related to the 2015
performance evaluation does not plead that the performance
evaluation was changed by any supervisor for retaliatory
reasons. Instead, Ganheart merely speculates that it was
“possible” that it was altered by two of
Ganheart's white supervisors. R. Doc. No. 1-1, at 3.
Because Ganheart merely speculates as to the possibility of
illegal conduct, the claim must be dismissed without
prejudice. See, e.g., Crosby v. Cox
Communications, Inc., No. 16-6700, 2016 WL 6403348, at
*3 (E.D. La. 2016) (noting requirement that “a
plaintiff actually allege that the defendant engaged in
illegal conduct (and not just the possibility
Ganheart fails to plead sufficient facts to establish a
hostile work environment. At best, Ganheart's complaint
raises non-specific allegations of “bullying” and
“close supervision.” R. Doc. No. 1, at 2. Without
more, those allegations do not contain sufficient factual
details to plausibly allege a hostile workplace environment
claim. See Brown v. Liberty Mut. Group, Inc., 616
F.App'x 654, 657 (5th Cir. 2015); Kang v. Bd. of
Supervisors of La. St. Univ., 75 F.App'x 974, 976
(5th Cir. 2003). Therefore, the hostile work environment
claim will be dismissed without prejudice.
Ganheart raises a procedural due process claim. Her claim
appears to relate to the denial of certain discovery
documents during an appeal in administrative proceedings.
However, her threadbare allegations do not establish that her
constitutional rights were violated. See Mathews v.
Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 334-35 (1976). Therefore, her
constitutional due process claim is dismissed without
IT IS ORDERED that the City's motion to dismiss is
GRANTED. The 2014 retaliation claim is DISMISSED WITH
PREJUDICE. The remainder of Ganheart's claims are
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court grants Ganheart leave
to amend her complaint by August 3, ...