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Lee v. Maintenance Enterprises, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 12, 2018

AVIA LEE
v.
MAINTENANCE ENTERPRISES, LLC, ET AL

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8) filed by Defendant, Thorpe Plant Services, Inc. ("Thorpe") and the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 14) filed by Defendant, Maintenance Enterprises, LLC ("MEI"). Defendants seek a dismissal of the claims brought by Plaintiff, Avia Lee under Rule 12(h)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss filed by Thorpe. (Doc. 13). Thorpe then filed a Reply. (Doc. 19). In response, Plaintiff filed a Sur-Reply. (Doc. 23). Plaintiff did not oppose MEFs Motion to Dismiss. The Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Oral argument is not necessary. For the following reasons, the Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 8, 14) are GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 5, 2015, Plaintiff began her employment, working in a "firewatch area," with MEI. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 5, 12). Plaintiff claims that she was subjected to menial labor after she complained about a male employee's conduct for drawing a penis on her clothes. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10, 21-23). On May 20, 2015, MEI terminated Plaintiffs employment allegedly because of her complaints of sexual harassment. (Doc. 13-2 at p. 4; Doc. L at ¶ 24).

         On August 24, 2015, Plaintiff began working for Thorpe, which operates at the same plant as MEL (Doc. 8-1 at p. 3). However, on September 3, 2015, allegedly at the request of MEI, Thorpe terminated Plaintiffs employment. (Id.; Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 14-16).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff filed three charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").[1] On August 31, 2015, the EEOC received Charge Number 443-2015-00998 filed against MEI ("MEI-0998") for discrimination based on race and sex. (Doc. 13-2 at p. 6). On September 25, 2015, the EEOC received Charge Number 443-2015-01453 also filed against MEI ("MEI-1453") based on retaliation. (Doc. 13-2 at p. 4). Likewise on September 25, 2015, the EEOC received Charge Number 443-2015-01454 filed against Thorpe ("Thorpe-1454") based on retaliation. (Doc. 8-1 at p. 3). The EEOC closed the file on Thorpe-1454, and mailed the Notice of Suit Rights on November 13, 2017. (Doc. 8*2). The EEOC closed the file on MEI-1453 and MEI-0998, and mailed both of the Notice of Suit Rights on December 20, 2017. (Doc. 13-2 at pp. 2, 8).

         On March 11, 2018, Plaintiff filed suit against MEI and Thorpe for discrimination and retaliation. (Doc. 1). In her complaint, she alleges that she was harassed based on her sex, that she was treated disparately based on her race, and that she was terminated for complaining about workplace harassment. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-38). Particularly, Plaintiff asserts claims for x-etaliation and discrimination based on race and sex against MEI under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c ("Title VII") and the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law ("LEDL"), La. Rev. Stat. § 23:301. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts claims for retaliation against Thorpe under Title VII and the LEDL. (Id.).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 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 u. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Ail. 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.

         "[F]acial 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         In support its motion, MEI argues that Plaintiffs claims under the LEDL are time-barred because Plaintiff did not fde her lawsuit within eighteen months, which is the maximum prescriptive period set forth in Louisiana Revised Statute §23:303(D), of the last discriminatory conduct. (Doc. 14-1 at pp. 2-3). In its motion, however, MEI does not seek a dismissal of Plaintiffs Title VII claims. (Doc. 14).

         Similarly, Thorpe argues that Plaintiffs LEDL claim should be dismissed because she failed to file suit within eighteen months after her termination. (Doc. 8 at p. 1). Thorpe further argues that Plaintiffs Title VII claim should be dismissed because she failed to file suit within 90 days of receipt of the notice of right-to-sue letter. (Id.).

         A. LEDL Claims ...


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