United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
JULIAN L. DARBY
CALUMET PACKAGING, LLC, ET AL
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Darby (“Plaintiff”), who is self- represented,
was formerly employed as a temporary worker at Calumet
Packaging in Shreveport. Plaintiff alleges in his complaint
that he was subjected to race and age discrimination, as well
as unlawful retaliation. Before the court is a motion to
dismiss (Doc. 14) filed by the defendants. They attack the
several claims in the complaint on a number of grounds,
including failure to exhaust administrative remedies and
failure to adequately state a claim on which relief may be
granted. For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that
the motion be granted by dismissing Plaintiff's claim for
punitive damages under the ADEA, but the motion should be
denied in all other respects.
Scope of Facts
ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must
accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in
the complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct.
2197, 2200 (2007). The court may also consider exhibits
attached to a complaint, which are part of the complaint
“for all purposes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c). That
includes the assessment of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. U.S.
ex rel. Riley v. St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp., 355
F.3d 370, 375 (5th Cir. 2004). Accordingly, the court will
set forth the relevant facts found in the complaint and the
EEOC documents that are attached to it as exhibits.
EEOC Charge Form
filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC that
identified his employer as “Calumet Packaging.”
He began his employment in April 2015 as a temporary
employee. He alleged that, during his employment, he was
harassed, intimidated, and denied promotional opportunities
by Shane Matherne (a manager). Plaintiff wrote that he was
discharged on February 15, 2016, but his employer gave no
reason for the actions taken against him.
checked boxes on the EEOC charge form to indicate claims of
discrimination based on race and age, as well as retaliation.
He wrote in the charge that he believed he had been
discriminated against based on his race (black) and age (54),
and that he was retaliated against in violation of Title VII.
He gave some particulars, including assignment to demeaning
jobs with no opportunity for advancement or a raise in pay,
denial of requests for training on different positions, never
being interviewed for permanent status, advancement of a less
experienced and younger white employee over him, and
termination shortly after he questioned the advancement of a
younger white coworker.
alleges in his complaint that he was a temporary employee who
was placed at Calumet by Career Adventures. Plaintiff alleges
that the Calumet plant has eleven white males in management
and supervisory positions and two white females in human
resources. There are, he alleges, no black males or minority
females in supervisory positions. The production crew, on the
other hand, is almost fifty percent minority. Plaintiff
alleges that there is a “buddy system” that
results in the promotion of white males and the exclusion of
requested, over several months, training as an operator or
transfer to blending. Manager Shane Matherne instead assigned
Plaintiff to less favorable jobs, which Plaintiff found
embarrassing and demeaning, given his several months of
experience at the plaint. Plaintiff was denied an opportunity
to work as an operator on the pail line in January 2016. The
position was instead given to Dakota Osborne, an 18-year-old
white male who was the most recently hired temporary
alleges that he questioned manager Steve Haley to express his
disappointment and say how unfair this was. Shane Matherne
was listening to the conversation and said, “You can go
home.” Plaintiff alleges that he replied that he had
worked there for nine and a half months at the same job, but
Osborne had been assigned to be trained on a better job after
less than two weeks. Plaintiff said the situation was not
fair, and he would rather take the day off than accept his
assignment of mopping floors and cleaning the plant.
Plaintiff alleges that these actions were “done
racially and in a very mean spirited way to try and
intimidate and humiliate me as well as to prove a point not
to question him.”
alleges that he applied to become a permanent employee at the
plant. Management announced on February 2, 2016 that Calumet
would hire six of its temporary employees on a permanent
basis, and the director wanted to hire those temporary
employees who had worked at the plant the longest. Dakota
Osborne was hired, but he had less time at the plant than any
temporary employee. On February 12, 2016, Shane Matherne
announced that there would be a lay-off of temporary
employees because business was slow. Two minorities were laid
off, and one was terminated.
alleges that he clocked out after a Friday shift, approached
Matherne, and spoke to him respectfully and professionally.
Plaintiff told Matherne how unfair he was in giving Plaintiff
assignments. He said that he believed Matherne was trying to
provoke him to quit and setting him up to fail by giving him
all of the “odd jobs.” Plaintiff also complained
that there was no logic in assigning Dakota Osborne to be
trained as an operator, while denying Plaintiff that
opportunity. Matherne allegedly laughed this off and told
Plaintiff, “You just want to work and do what you want
to do.” Plaintiff alleges that he replied, “I
just want you to be fair, and give me the same opportunities,
treat me like you treat Dakota Osborne and others. . . There
is a name for what you are doing to me.” Plaintiff
alleges that Matherne stopped smiling at that point, and
Plaintiff told him to have a great weekend.
alleges that on the following Monday, February 15, 2016, he
picked up a sheet of paper by mistake and saw that it read,
“I suggest we release Julian Darby.” Another
employee told Plaintiff that the document was “all
Shane Matherne (sic) doing.” Plaintiff asserts that he
was in fact terminated on the next work day after he
confronted Matherne about what he believed were unlawful
practices in assignments and employment. The complaint
contains a number of other allegations, some of which will be
discussed below in connection with particular claims.
complaint names two defendants. The first is Calumet
Packaging, LLC. Defense counsel represents that Calumet
Packaging, LLC is not an operating entity. The Shreveport
packaging facility is said to be owned by Calumet Branded
Products, LLC, and that company has responded to the suit ...