United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
BOE, ET AL.
HEART CLINIC OF HAMMOND, LLC.
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss the Claims
Asserted by Aline M. Thibodeaux (Doc. 10) filed by
Defendant, Heart Clinic of Hammond, LLC. Defendant seeks to
dismiss the claims brought by Plaintiff Thibodeaux
("Plaintiff) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Defendant does not
seek to dismiss any claims brought by Plaintiff Mary Boe.
Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc.
11). Defendant then filed a Reply Brief to the Opposition to
the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 16). In response, Plaintiff
filed a Sur-Reply Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion to
Dismiss. (Doc. 17). The Court has jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1331. Oral argument is not necessary. For
the following reasons, the Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 10) is GRANTED.
seeks injunctive relief and damages arising from her
termination from the Heart Clinic of Hammond, LLC.
("HCH"). (Doc. 1). In her complaint, she alleges
that she was sexually harassed and discriminated against
based on her disabilities, a "breast lump" and
major depression. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts claims
for a hostile work environment, disability discrimination,
and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. § 12131 ("ADA"), Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e ("Title VII"),
and the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law, La. Rev.
Stat. § 23:301 ("LEDL"). (Id.).
2011, Plaintiff began her employment with Defendant as the
Chief Operating Officer. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 10). During the
fall of 2015, Plaintiff claims that she established "a
record of disability involving a significant breast
lump" and had already been subjected to numerous sexual
advances by Dr. Ghiath M. Mikdadi, owner/manager of HCH.
(Id. at ¶¶ 15-20). On December 23, 2015,
Plaintiff planned to have surgery related to the "breast
lump." (Id. at ¶ 21). During this time,
Dr. Mikdadi allegedly made sexual advances towards Plaintiff
and conveyed to her that her job would go smoother if she
cooperated with his advances. (Id. at ¶¶
22-24). As a result of the alleged harassment, Plaintiff
suffered from major depression. (Id. at ¶¶
25-27). On or about December 23, 2015, Plaintiff sought
medical leave for her depression. (Id. at ¶
27). Plaintiff asserts that during her leave of absence, Dr.
Mikdadi used Melissa Bennett, "the Marketing
Reprehensive (sic), " to continue to harass her so that
she would return to work immediately. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶
29-32). On February 20, 2016, Plaintiff reportedly told
Bennett that she would be released to return to work within
the next couple of weeks. (Id. at ¶ 34). On
March 3, 2016,  Plaintiff was terminated "without any
reasonable stated non-discriminatory reason just days before
[she was to] return to work." (Id. at ¶
Plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Doc. 10-2).
Plaintiff claims to have faxed her EEOC charge on March 3,
2017. (Doc. 11 at p. 3; Doc. 11-1). The EEOC stamped
Plaintiffs EEOC charge "RECEIVED" on March 10,
2017, at 10:18 AM. (Doc. 10-2). Plaintiff filed this lawsuit
on April 6, 2017, after being mailed a "Notice of Right
to Sue (Issued on Request)" from the EEOC on March 20,
2017. (Doc. 16-1).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency
of the complaint against the legal standard set forth in Rule
8, which requires "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Rule 8(a)(2), "To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell All. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "Determining whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 679.
plausibility" exists "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 678 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). Hence, the complaint need not set out
"detailed factual allegations, " but something
"more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action" is
required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. When conducting
its inquiry, the Court "accepts all well-pleaded facts
as true and views those facts in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff." Bustos v. Martini Club Inc.,
599 F.3d 458, 461 (5th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks omitted).
support of its motion, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs Title
VII, ADA, and state law LEDL claims are time-barred because
they are based on Plaintiffs date of termination, which
occurred more than 300-days prior to the filing of the EEOC
charge. (Doc. 10-1). Particularly, Defendant asserts that
Plaintiff was terminated on March 3, 2016, but she filed her
EEOC charge on March 10, 2017-more than one year from the
last allegedly discriminatory act. (Id. at p. 2). In
opposition, Plaintiff disputes that her federal and state law
claims are time-barred. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that
failure to file a timely EEOC charge is an affirmative
defense and adjudication of this motion is premature. (Doc.
11 at p. 3). Further, Plaintiff argues that she timely filed
her EEOC charge when she faxed it on March 3, 2017.
discrimination charge is considered "filed" for
purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 on the date the EEOC
receives the charge, not the date the charge is
signed or mailed. See Taylor v. Gen. Telephone Co. of the
Sw., 759 F.2d 437, 441-42 (5th Cir. 1985) (emphasis
added); Minnis v. Bd. of Sup'rs of La. State Univ.
& Agric. & Mech. Coll., 55 F.Supp.3d 864, 873-74
(M.D. La. 2014), aff'd, 620 Fed.Appx. 215 (5th
Cir. 2015). Here, the date stamp on Plaintiffs EEOC charge
indicates that it was received by the EEOC on March 10,
2017. (Doc. 10-2). Plaintiff asserts that she
faxed her EEOC charge on March 3, 2017, and thus that is when
her discrimination charge was "filed. However, the EEOC New
Orleans Field Office stamped Plaintiffs EEOC charge
"RECEIVED" on March 10th. (Doc. 10-2). Therefore,
Plaintiff has failed to show that her EEOC charge was
"received" on March 3, 2017. The Court finds that
because neither the "date signed" nor the
"date mailed" can be the date the charge is
considered "filed, " logically it seems that the
date faxed equally cannot be considered. Thus, for purposes
of this motion, the Court will accept the date stamped as the
date "filed." See Lavigne v. Cajun Deep
Founds., LLC, 32 F.Supp.3d 718, 730 (M.D. La. 2014),
aff'd, 654 Fed.Appx. 640 (5th Cir. 2016) (in
which the Court concluded that "the date stamp on the
Original Charge indicate[d] that it was received by the EEOC
on [the date it was stamped]").
Untimely Title VII and ADA Claims
suit under the ADA and Title VII, a plaintiff must file a
charge of employment discrimination with the EEOC or state
administrative agency within 300 days of the occurrence of
the alleged discriminatory conduct. Taylor v. United
Parcel Serv., Inc.,554 F.3d 510, 521 (5th Cir. 2008).
"This Circuit has long required plaintiffs to exhaust
their administrative remedies before bringing suit under
Title VII." Price v. Choctaw Glove & Safety Co.,
Inc.,459 F.3d 595, 598 (5th Cir. 2006); see also
Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc.,296 F.3d 376, 378-79
(5th Cir. 2002). "Exhaustion [of administrative
remedies] occurs when the plaintiff files a timely charge
with the EEOC and receives a statutory notice of right to
sue." Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d at 379;
Dao v. Auchan Hypermarket,96 F.3d 787, 788-89 (5th
Cir. 1996). For a charge to be timely, "[a]n individual
claiming discrimination in violation of Title VII must file a
charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days
'after the alleged unlawful employment practice
occurred.'" WC & M Enters., Inc., 496
F.3d at 398 ...