United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
CATHERINE DYAS, ET AL.
CITY OF SHREVEPORT, ET AL.
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss [Record Document 68] filed
by members of the Shreve Memorial Library Board of Control
(collectively "Board Members"). Those Board Members
are Josephine Babers Wade, Hope J. Batts, Julia H. Gahagan,
Deloris Lynch, Dottie Howard Bell, Thomas M. Tebbe, Neil
Johnson, II, and Shannon L. Hicks. 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 62.
reasons discussed below, the Motion to Dismiss filed by the
Board Members [Record Document 68] is GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART. It is
GRANTED as to Plaintiffs' claims against
the Board Members under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1985,
Louisiana Civil Code article 2315, La. R.S. § 42:1169,
and as to any procedural due process claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. It is further GRANTED as to
Plaintiffs' claims against the Board Members in their
individual capacities under Title VII and the Louisiana
Employment Discrimination Law, La. R.S. § 23:301 et
sea. These claims are hereby DISMISSED.
The motion is DENIED as to all other claims.
all black women, are employees of the Shreve Memorial Library
("the Library"). Record Document 62. They all
worked at the Hamilton/South Caddo Branch of the Library.
Id., at 3. The Library is jointly funded by the City
of Shreveport ("the City") and Caddo Parish
("the Parish"). Record Documents 62, pp. 3-5; La.
R.S. § 25;2I5(A); § 25;2I7(B). Both the Mayor of
Shreveport and the Caddo Parish Commission appoint members to
the Board of Control, which governs the Library, and both the
City and the Parish provide funding for the Library. Id; La.
R.S. § 25:214; Record Document 31, pp. 1-7.
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 62, pp.
10-16. They also allege they were discriminated against
because of their race, and that both the racial
discrimination and the sexual harassment created a hostile
work environment. Id. at 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. Id. at
21-29. Based on these events, they brought claims against the
Library, several individual Library employees, the City, the
Parish, and members of the Shreve Memorial Library Board of
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 (specifically, La. R.S. § 23:332).
Plaintiffs also bring claims under 42 U.S.C. §§
1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986, the Louisiana Code of Government
Ethics Whistleblower Statute (La. R.S. § 42:1169), and
Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.
Court previously issued a Memorandum Ruling [Record Document
58] on three motions to dismiss filed by the City, the
Parish, the Library, and individual Library employees [Record
Documents 15, 17, & 26]. The following claims remain
after ruling on the motions: Plaintiffs' claims against
the individual Library employees under §§ 1983,
1985, and 1986 and Louisiana Civil Code article 2315;
Plaintiffs' claims against the Library under Title VII,
La. R.S. § 23:332, §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986,
and Louisiana Civil Code article 2315; and all of
Plaintiffs' claims against the Board Members.
Board Members move to dismiss all claims against them under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim. Record Document 68.
Standard of Review
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 a plaintiff has stated a
plausible claim. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007); In re Katrina Canal Breaches
Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007). 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).
Title VII and La. R.S. 55 23:332 and 42:1169
Board Members adopt the legal arguments made by the
individual Library employees (John Tuggle, Jennie Paxton,
Chris Kirkley, Bandana Mukherjee, and Deonci Sutton) in their
motion to dismiss and associated briefing [Record Documents
26, 26-1] as it relates to Plaintiffs' claims under Title
VII and La. R.S. §§ 23:332 and 42:1169. Record
Document 68-2, pp. 11-13.
VII permits suit by an employee against her employer for
discrimination. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. "Only
'employers, ' not individuals acting in their
individual capacity who do not otherwise meet the definition
of "employers/ can be liable under title VII."
Grant v. Lone Star Co., 21 F.3d 649, 652 (5th Cir.
1994). Plaintiffs appear to acknowledge that there is no
individual liability for the Board Members under Title VII.
See Record Document 56, p. 11 (quoting McKneely v.
Zachary Police Dep't No. CIV.A. 12-354-SDD, 2013 WL
4585160, at *5 (M.D. La. Aug. 28, 2013)); see also Rhvce
v. Martin, 173 F.Supp.2d 521, 528 (E.D. La. 2001). Thus,
any liability under Title VII could only be through the Board
Members' status as agents of the Board itself, as in
their official capacity. See Huckabay v. Moore, 142
F.3d 233, 241 (5th Or. 1998). And while the definition of
"employer" under Title VII includes "any
agent" of an employer, this is merely intended to
incorporate respondeat superior liability into Title VII.
Id. (citing Miller v. Maxwell's Int'l
Inc., 991 F.2d 583 (9th Cir. 1993)); Indest v.
Freeman Decorating, Inc., 164 F.3d 258, 262 (5th Cir.
1999) (noting that "a Title VII suit against an employee
is actually a suit against the corporation").
Accordingly, Plaintiffs' claims against the Board Members
in their individual capacities under Title VII are
appropriately DISMISSED, and the Court need
only consider whether the Board Members in their official
capacity as agents of the Board could be considered
Plaintiffs' employer for Title VII purposes.
Board Members argue that Plaintiffs cannot state a claim
against them under Title VII because they are not
Plaintiffs' employer. See Record Document 26-1, pp. 5-6;
54, pp. 2-3; 57, pp. 2-3. Instead, the Board Members contend
the Library is Plaintiffs' admitted
employer. See Record Document 25, p. 3. It is
undisputed that Plaintiffs were employees of the Library;
however, Plaintiffs also contend that the Board of Control is
liable under Title VII as their employer. Similarly, in
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint they argue that the
Board, as the entity that governs the Library and establishes
policies, rules, and regulations for Library ...