United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSQN, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE
DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6) by Defendants
Tri-Parish Contractors, Inc. and Felix Simoneaux, III.
Plaintiff Troy Maranto did not file an opposition. For the
following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6) is GRANTED
IN PART, and this case is REMANDED to the 18th Judicial
District Court, Parish of West Baton Rouge.
case is about a bitter office love triangle. Plaintiff
alleges that his wife had an affair with his boss, and then
his boss harassed, threatened, and finally fired him. (Doc.
1-1 at p. 3-5, 39-42). Plaintiff alleges that he worked at
Tri-Parish Contractors as a safety manager along with his
wife who worked as an office manager. Id. at p. 39.
He alleges that in December 2016, he and his wife separated
because Felix Simoneaux, his boss, had an affair with his
wife. Id. at p. 40. After he separated from his
wife, Plaintiff alleges that Simoneaux barred Plaintiff from
entering Tri-Parish's front office, and forbid him from
using the office bathroom. Id. at 40. As a result,
Plaintiff alleges that he had to walk to a different building
to relieve himself. Id.
February 2017, Plaintiff alleges that Simoneaux reduced his
pay by $200.00 a week. Id. A month later, Simoneaux
allegedly called Plaintiff and "began threatening and
harassing him" because Plaintiff spread rumors that
Simoneaux was having an affair with his wife. Id. A
few weeks later, Plaintiff alleges that he told Simoneaux
that he would need to miss work to attend court for a divorce
and custody hearing. Id. at p. 4. That day,
Plaintiff missed three hours of work, and the next day
Simoneaux called Plaintiff and yelled at him "in a
profanity laced tirade" because he missed three hours of
work. Id. at p. 41. About a week later, Plaintiff
alleges that when he went to work, his wife and Simoneaux
became irate, began yelling at him, and called the police.
Id. at p. 41.
alleges that while being interviewed by the police, Simoneaux
fired him by text message. Id. at p. 42. Plaintiff
alleges that he then began searching for a new job in early
April, and he applied to Exxon-Mobil. Id. An
Exxon-Mobil representative told Plaintiff, however, that
Simoneaux and Tri-Parish informed Exxon that they fired
Plaintiff for "f***ing things up." Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Simoneaux had been trying to humiliate
Plaintiff to appease his wife. Id. at p. 46.
sued Defendants on June 5, 2017 in the 18th Judicial District
Court, Parish of West Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Id. at
p. 3. Plaintiff filed an Amended Petition for Damages about
three months later. Id. at p. 39. And twenty-five
days after Plaintiff amended the Petition, Defendants removed
the case, invoking the Court's federal question
jurisdiction. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims Defendants are
liable for: (1) intentional interference with a business
relationship; (2) negligent interference with a business
relationship; (3) defamation; (4); intentional infliction of
emotional distress; (5) wrongful termination; (6) violation
of La. R.S. 22:1046, which governs group health insurance
continuation; and (7) creating a hostile work environment
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 6
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 Atl. 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.
Title VII Hostile Work Environment Claim
claims that Defendants are liable under Title VII for
creating a hostile work environment. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 45).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
prohibits employers from " discriminating] against any
individual with respect to his compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). Out of the
gate, Plaintiffs claim against Simoneaux falls flat because
Title VII applies only to employers and not supervisors or
fellow employees. Foley v. Univ. of Houston Sys.,
355 F.3d 333, 340 n.8 (5th Cir. 2003). The question then is
whether Plaintiff states a hostile work environment claim
against his employer, Tri-Parish Contractors.
alleging sex discrimination may recover on a theory of a
hostile work environment. Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v.
Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 73 (1986). The underlying policy is
that employees should be afforded the right to be free from
"discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and
insult." Id. at 65. The Supreme Court has also
construed Title VII to allow hostile work environment claims
whether the harasser and the victim are the same gender or
different genders. Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore
Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 82 (1998). In evaluating
same-sex sexual harassment claims, courts follow a two-step
inquiry. E.E.O.C. v. Boh Bros. Constr. Co., 731 F.3d
444, 453 (5th Cir. 2013). First, the court considers whether
the harassment constitutes discrimination "because of
sex." Id. Second, the court evaluates whether
the conduct meets the standards for a hostile work
environment claim. Id.
plaintiff alleges same-sex sexual harassment, there are a few
ways a plaintiff may prove that harassment is "because
of sex. First, "a plaintiff may show that the harasser
was homosexual and motivated by sexual desire[.]"
Boh Bros., 731 F.3d at 455 (citing Oncale,
523 U.S. at 80-81. The United States Court of Appeals for the
Fifth Circuit has identified two types of evidence that can
serve as "credible evidence of homosexuality."
First, "evidence suggesting that the harasser intended
to have some kind of sexual contact with the plaintiff rather
than merely to humiliate him for reasons unrelated to sexual
interest, " and second, "proof that the alleged
harasser made same-sex sexual advances to others, especially
to other employees." La Day v. Catalyst Tech.,
Inc.,302 F.3d 474, 480 (5th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff
alleges no facts ...