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Magee v. Carpenter Health Network, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 23, 2018

LATUNYA MAGEE
v.
THE CARPENTER HEALTH NETWORK, LLC and STAT HOME HEALTH, LLC.

         SECTION A(2)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JUDGE JAY C. ZAINEY, UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Rec. Doc. 8) filed by Defendant Carpenter Health Network, LLC (“Carpenter Health”). Plaintiff Latunya Magee (“Magee”) has not filed an opposition. The motion, set for submission on January 10, 2018, is before the Court on the briefs without oral argument. This matter is set as a jury trial beginning on August 13, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. Having considered the motion and memoranda of counsel, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendant's motion should be GRANTED for the reasons set forth below.

         I. Background

         Defendant Carpenter Health filed the instant motion seeking to dismiss Plaintiff Latunya Magee's claims against Carpenter Health for failure to state a claim for relief. On October 11, 2017, Magee filed a Complaint against Stat Home Health, LLC (“Stat Home Health”) and Carpenter Health alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Magee alleges that she was harassed, forced to work in a hostile work environment, and was terminated based on her race. Carpenter Health seeks to dismiss Magee's claims against it on the grounds that (1) Magee has not and cannot allege Carpenter Health was her employer under Title VII, (2) Magee has not and cannot allege Carpenter Health was her employer under § 1981, and (3) Magee failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as to Carpenter Health. (Rec. Doc. 8).

         II. Legal Standard

         In the context of a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232 (5th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308 (2007); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Lovick v. Ritemoney, Ltd., 378 F.3d 433, 437 (5th Cir. 2004)). However, the foregoing tenet is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Thread-bare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         The central issue in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is whether, in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint states a valid claim for relief. Gentilello v. Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413, 418 (5th Cir. 2008)). To avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “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. The court does not accept as true “conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions.” Id. (quoting Plotkin v. IP Axess, Inc., 407 F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005)). Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations. Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         Generally, a court should not dismiss an action for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) without giving the plaintiff “at least one chance to amend.” Hernandez v. Ikon Office Solutions, Inc., 306 Fed.App'x 180, 182 (5th Cir. 2009); accord Great Plains Trust Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 329 (5th Cir. 2002).

         However, that general rule does not apply if the proposed amendment would be futile. Townsend v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., 461 Fed.App'x 367, 372 (5th Cir. 2011); Jaso v. The Coca Cola Co., 435 Fed.App'x 346, 351-52 (5th Cir. 2011) (citing Goodman v. Praxair, Inc., 494 F.3d 458, 466 (4th Cir. 2007); Jones v. Alcoa, Inc., 339 F.3d 359, 366 (5th Cir. 2003); 5B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1357 at 714-21 (3d ed. 2004)).

         III. Law and Analysis

         According to her Complaint, Plaintiff was employed by Carpenter Health as a licensed practitioner nurse beginning in October of 2014 and ending upon her termination in March of 2017. (Rec. Doc. 1, p. 3, ¶ 4). Plaintiff alleges that she saw approximately 20-26 patients per week and her duties included, but were not limited to: assessing patient conditions during home visits, performing evaluation tasks, dressing or redressing open wounds, and checking vital signs. Id. at ¶ 5. The majority of Plaintiff's allegations center on the actions of Melissa Hinebaugh (“Hinebaugh”), an office manager at Stat Home Health. Few of Plaintiff's allegations are directed towards Carpenter Health-movant in the instant motion.

         While the Complaint is vague as to the nature of Plaintiff's employment arrangement, it seems that Plaintiff was immediately employed by Stat Home Health, which-the Complaint makes clear-is a subsidiary company of Carpenter Health. (Rec. Doc. 1, p. 3, ¶ 6). Most of Plaintiff's allegations seemingly took place in the Stat Home Health office and are geared towards Hinebaugh, who was undoubtedly a Stat Home Health employee. Id. at pp. 3-6, ¶¶ 6-21. Therefore, the Court has sufficient reason to believe that Stat Home Health was Plaintiff's immediate employer.[1]

         On this basis, Carpenter Health brings the instant motion arguing that it is not Plaintiff's employer within the meaning of Title VII or § 1981, and as a result, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief. Carpenter Health additionally argues that Plaintiff has failed to state a ...


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