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Dyas v. City of Shreveport

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

August 25, 2017

CATHERINE DYAS, et al.,
v.
CITY OF SHREVEPORT, et al.,

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are three motions to dismiss filed by Defendants. The first was filed by the City of Shreveport (“the City”), the second filed by Caddo Parish (“the Parish”), and the third by Defendants Shreve Memorial Library (“the Library”), John Tuggle, Jennie Paxton, Chris Kirkley, Bandana Mukherjee, and Deonci Sutton. Record Documents 15, 17, and 26. Plaintiffs Catherine Dyas, Pamela Charles, and Tiffany Snyder allege that they were subjected to sexual harassment and racial discrimination creating a hostile work environment, and retaliated against for their attempts to report harassing and discriminatory conduct, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986, the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Louisiana Civil Code article 2315, and Louisiana Revised Statutes §§ 23:331 and 42:1169. Record Document 21.

         For the reasons discussed below, the City of Shreveport's motion to dismiss [Record Document 15] is GRANTED and Caddo Parish's motion to dismiss [Record Document 17] is GRANTED, and all of Plaintiffs' claims against the City and the Parish are DISMISSED with prejudice. The motion to dismiss filed by the Library, John Tuggle, Jennie Paxton, Chris Kirkley, Bandana Mukherjee, and Deonci Sutton [Record Document 26] is GRANTED. Plaintiffs' claims under Title VII, La. R.S. § 23:332, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and La. R.S. § 42:1169 against the individual defendants are DISMISSED with prejudice and Plaintiff's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and La. R.S. § 42:1169 against the Library are DISMISSED with prejudice.[1]

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs, all black women, are employees of the Library. Record Document 21. They all worked at the Hamilton/South Caddo Branch of the Library. Id., p. 2. The Library is a government agency jointly funded by the City and the Parish. Record Documents 21, pp. 3-4; 31, p. 2; La. R.S. § 25:215(A). Both the Mayor of Shreveport and the Chairman of the Caddo Parish Commission appoint members of the Board of Control, which governs the Library, and both the City and the Parish provide funding for the Library. Id.

         Plaintiffs allege that over the course of several years, they were sexually harassed at work by the Hamilton/South Caddo Branch Manager, Chris Kirkley, who is white. Record Document 21, pp. 10-16. They also allege that they were discriminated against because of their race, and that both the racial discrimination and the sexual harassment created a hostile work environment. Record Document 21, p. 16. Further, they complain that when they attempted to report the harassment and discrimination to various individuals at the Library, they were retaliated against by being transferred to less desirable jobs within the Library system. Record Document 21, pp. 21-29. Based on these events, they brought claims against the Library, several individual Library employees, the City, and the Parish under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, the Louisiana employment discrimination law (Louisiana Revised Statute § 23:332), the Louisiana Code of Government Ethics whistleblower statute (La. R.S. § 42:1169), and Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.

         II. Discussion

         Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges sexual harassment creating a hostile work environment, racial discrimination creating a hostile work environment, and retaliation for reporting these claims in violation of Title VII and the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law. Plaintiffs also allege claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986. They do not specify which claims are alleged against which Defendants. The City and the Parish both moved to dismiss all of the claims against them under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Record Documents 15 and 17. The individual Library employee Defendants moved to dismiss the Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and La. R.S. §§ 23:332 and 42:1169 claims against them for failure to state a claim. Record Document 26. The Library also moved to dismiss the 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and La. R.S. § 42:1169 claims against it for failure to state a claim. Record Document 26.

         A. The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiffs filed their complaint in late 2016, and the City and the Parish moved to dismiss in early 2017. Record Documents 15, 17. Plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended complaint. Record Document 21. The only difference between the original complaint and the amended complaint is the addition of the names of members of the Library Board of Control, who had previously not been identified by name. Record Documents 1 and 21.

         An amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See 6 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1476 (3d ed.) (“Once an amended pleading is interposed, the original pleading no longer performs any function in the case.”). Because the claims contained in the amended complaint are identical to those asserted in the original complaint, the Court nevertheless interprets the City's and the Parish's motions to dismiss as directed at the amended complaint.

         B. Standard of Review

         In order to survive a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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. at 663. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. The court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint in determining whether plaintiff has stated a plausible claim. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2009). However, a court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         C. Claims Against The City and The Parish

         The City and the Parish both moved to dismiss all of the claims against them under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Record ...


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