United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
MAURICE HICKS, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss and, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document 17) filed by
Defendant State of Louisiana, Louisiana Workforce Commission,
Office of Workforce Development, Louisiana Rehabilitative
Services (“LRS” or
““Defendant”). Defendant argues that
Plaintiff Angela Roberson-King's
(“Roberson-King”) complaint fails to provide
sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for relief
under Louisiana tort law. Defendant seeks summary judgment in
its favor as to Roberson-King's Title VII racial
discrimination claim, arguing Roberson-King has failed to
show pretext. Roberson-King opposed the defense motion.
See Record Document 19. For the reasons set forth
below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED and
Roberson-King's Louisiana state law tort claims and her
Title VII racial discrimination claim are
began her employment with the State of Louisiana in 1989.
See Record Document 1 at ¶ 3. In 2013, she was
promoted within the LRS to Rehabilitation Counselor Master.
See Record Document 17-2 at ¶ 1; Record
Document 19-1 at ¶ 1. On September 3, 2014, a vacancy
for District Supervisor was announced with a closing date of
September 8, 2014. See id. at ¶ 2; Record
Document 19-1 at ¶ 1. Roberson-King applied for the
position during the open application period. See id.
at ¶ 3; Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 1. Four qualified
candidates, having met the minimum qualifications for the
position, were interviewed on September 29, 2014:
Roberson-King (African-American), Teresa Hefner (Caucasian),
Cindy Hill (Caucasian), and Mara Lott Patten
(“Patten”) (Caucasian). See id. at
¶ 4; Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 1. John Vaughan
(“Vaughan”), the LRS Shreveport Regional Manager
along with Deborah Aymand (“Aymand”), LRS
Lafayette Regional Manager, conducted the interviews. See
id. at ¶ 5; Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 1.
Vaughan and Aymand asked all four interviewees the same
questions. See id. at ¶ 6; Record Document 19-1
at ¶ 1. Of the four interviewees, Patten was the only
candidate with both a Master's degree and a Certified
Rehabilitation Counselor (“CRC”) certification.
See id. at ¶ 7; Record Document 19-1 at ¶
submits that after reviewing performance records, interview
notes, and certifications, Vaughan felt Patten was the most
qualified candidate for the position. See id. at
¶ 10. Conversely, Roberson-King disputes Vaughn's
motivations in promoting Patten, specifically that Patten was
the most qualified candidate. See Record Document
19-2 at ¶ 5. Vaughan recommended Patten to his
supervisor, Ken York (“York”), Acting Director of
LRS for the District Supervisor position. See Record
Document 17-2at ¶ 11; Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 6.
York then forwarded the recommendation of Patten, along with
his approval, to Bryan Moore (“Moore”), Director
of Office of Workforce Development and the appointing
authority. See id. at ¶ 12; Record Document
19-1 at ¶ 7. Moore accepted the recommendation of Patten
and she was announced as District Supervisor on October 16,
2014. See id. at ¶ 13; Record Document 19-1 at
filed a Charge of Discrimination. See Record
Document 1 at ¶ 15. The Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission issued a Notice of Right to Sue dates April 19,
2016. See id., Exhibit 1. Roberson-King filed the
instant lawsuit in July 2016, alleging racial discrimination
under Title VII, breach of a duty under Louisiana Civil Code
Article 2315, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. See id. at ¶¶ 12-13. Defendant
has now moved to dismiss all of Roberson-King's claims.
See Record Document 17.
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard.
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.
Summary Judgment Standard.
56(a) provides, in pertinent part:
Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment. A
party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim
or defense-or the part of each claim or defense-on which
summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary
judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.
F.R.C.P. 56(a) (emphasis added); see also Quality
Infusion Care, Inc. v. Health Care Serv. Corp., 628 F.3d
725, 728 (5th Cir.2010). “A genuine issue of material
fact exists when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Quality Infusion Care, Inc., 628 F.3d at 728.
“Rule 56 [(a)] mandates the entry of summary judgment,
after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Patrick v. Ridge, 394 F.3d 311, 315
movant demonstrates the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact, “the nonmovant must go beyond the
pleadings and designate specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial.” Gen. Universal Sys.,
Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 141 (5th Cir.2004). Where
critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an essential fact
that it could not support a judgment in favor of the
nonmovant, then summary judgment should be granted. See
Boudreaux v. Swift Transp. Co., 402 F.3d 536, 540 (5th