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Louis v. Hampton Inn Bossier City

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

December 4, 2018





         Before the Court is Defendant Savoy Bossier City Hotels, LLC's (incorrectly identified in the complaint as “Hampton Inn Bossier City”) (hereinafter “Defendant”) Partial Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Record Document 18. Plaintiff Andrea S. Louis (“Plaintiff”) opposes the motion. See Record Document 22. Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's claims alleging age and race discrimination. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is hereby GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this pro se suit alleging claims for sexual harassment, retaliation, and age and race discrimination against Defendant. Prior to filing her Complaint (the “Complaint”) on February 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “charge of discrimination” with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on November 26, 2017 in which she checked the boxes on the charge form for “SEX, ” “RACE, ” and “RETALIATION” but did not check the box for “AGE.” See Record Document 18-2 at 2; Record Document 18-1.[1] In addition, Plaintiff's written narrative contained in her charge form does not reference any facts relating to the alleged race and age discrimination and only address her claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. See id.

         Plaintiff has also filed several letters with the Court, all written by Plaintiff and filed subsequent to filing her Complaint, in which she provides additional information regarding her suit and includes a copy of the “notice of right to sue” (or “right-to-sue” letter) that she received from the EEOC, which is dated December 18, 2017. See Record Document 18-2 at 2-3. In one letter filed with the Court on May 31, 2018, Plaintiff states that she is asserting claims of “discrimination, ” “age/race discrimination, ” “sexual harassment, ” and “harassment.” See Record Document 14 at 2. However, as with her narrative in her charge form, Plaintiff's actual Complaint only alleges facts regarding sexual harassment and retaliation and does not include any facts regarding age or race discrimination, nor does it include any references regarding her own age or race or that of anyone else. See Record Document 1. Because Defendant's motion only relates to Plaintiff's purported claims for age and race discrimination, such claims are the only claims at issue for purposes of the instant Memorandum Ruling.


         A. Pleading and 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Standards

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the requirements for pleadings that state a claim for relief, requiring that a pleading contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The standard for the adequacy of complaints under Rule 8(a)(2) is now a “plausibility” standard found in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and its progeny. 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). Under this standard, “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555-56, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. If a pleading only contains “labels and conclusions” and “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” the pleading does not meet the standards of Rule 8(a)(2). Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citation omitted).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows parties to seek dismissal of a party's pleading for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court generally may not “go outside the pleadings." Colle v. Brazos Cty., Tex., 981 F.2d 237, 243 (5th Cir. 1993). However, a court may also rely upon "documents incorporated into the complaint by reference and matters of which a court may take judicial notice" in deciding a motion to dismiss. Dorsey v. Portfolio Equities, Inc., 540 F.3d 333, 338 (5th Cir. 2008). Additionally, courts must accept all allegations in a complaint as true. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. However, courts do not have to accept legal conclusions as facts. See id. Courts considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are only obligated to allow those complaints that are facially plausible under the Iqbal and Twombly standard to survive such a motion. See id. at 678-79, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. If the complaint does not meet this standard, it can be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. Such a dismissal ends the case "at the point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558, 127 S.Ct. at 1966.

         B. Prerequisites to Filing Employment Discrimination Claims

         In order to file a valid federal employment discrimination claim under both Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), a plaintiff must first exhaust its administrative remedies with the EEOC. See Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378-79 (5th Cir. 2002); Menson v. City of Baton Rouge, 539 Fed.Appx. 433, 434 (5th Cir. 2013). Exhaustion occurs “when the plaintiff files a timely charge with the EEOC and receives a statutory notice of right to sue.” Taylor, 296 F.3d at 379 (citing Dao v. Auchan Hypermarket, 96 F.3d 787, 788-89 (5th Cir. 1996)). A plaintiff then has ninety days from the receipt of the statutory notice of right to sue in which to file suit against his or her employer. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). This ninety-day filing period requirement is “strictly construed, ” even for pro se litigants. See Taylor, 296 F.3d at 379; see also Washington v. City of Gulfport, Miss., 351 Fed.Appx. 916, 917-18 (5th Cir. 2009). Courts within this Circuit have repeatedly dismissed cases in which the plaintiff did not file a complaint until after the expiration of the ninety-day limitations period. See, e.g., Butler v. Orleans Parish School Bd., No. 00-0845, 2001 WL 1135616, at *2-3 (E.D. La. Sept. 25, 2001). Furthermore, “[a]lthough [the] filing of an EEOC charge is not a jurisdictional prerequisite, it is a precondition to filing suit in district court.” See, e.g., Taylor, 296 F.3d at 379 (citation omitted).

         C. Age Discrimination Claim

         Although Plaintiff did not check the box for “AGE” on her EEOC charge or reference any acts of age discrimination by Defendant in her complaint, Plaintiff alleges an age discrimination claim in a letter she filed with the Court on May 31, 2018. See Record Document 14 at 2. Defendant maintains that Plaintiff's age discrimination claim should be dismissed for her failure to exhaust administrative remedies and that Plaintiff's letter in which she alleges age discrimination is neither sufficient to cure such failure nor cure the untimeliness of her claim. See Record Document 18-2 at 4-5. Defendant also argues that even if the Court finds that Plaintiff is not procedurally ...

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