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Durham v. Amikids Baton Rouge, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

February 27, 2019

MELISSA DURHAM
v.
AMIKIDS BATON ROUGE, INC. ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN JACKKSON JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

         Before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss AMIKids, Inc., or in the Alternative, Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 2) filed by Defendant AMIKids, Inc. ("AMIKids") and the Motion to Dismiss AMIKids Baton Rouge, Inc. or in the Alternative, Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 3) filed by Defendant AMIKids Baton Rouge, Inc. ("AMIKids Baton Rouge"). Plaintiff Melissa Durham filed an Opposition to both motions. (Doc. 6) For the reasons herein, the Motion to Dismiss AMIKids, Inc., or in the Alternative, Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 2) is GRANTED. Furthermore, the Motion to Dismiss AMIKids Baton Rouge, Inc. or in the Alternative, Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 3) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was allegedly employed by Defendants in 2016 as a science teacher. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 3) Plaintiff alleges that during this time, her teaching position was threatened, and she was sexually harassed at work. (Id.) Plaintiff also claims that other teachers received preferential treatment with fewer job responsibilities and requirements. (Id.)

         Plaintiff asserts that she filed a grievance regarding the harassment and unfair treatment at AMIKids Baton Rouge in October of 2016 and also requested accommodations for PTSD symptoms she suffered from working at the school. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 4; Doc. 1-4 at p. 8; Doc. 1-5 at p. 20). Plaintiffs asserts that she was offered a separation agreement instead. (Doc. 1-4 at p. 4). She alleges Defendants threatened her job security if she continued to file complaints. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated her rights under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disability Act of 1990, and Louisiana Revised Statute 23:301. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 2). Defendants seek to dismiss Plaintiffs claims for insufficient service of process. Alternatively, Defendants seek summary judgment, asserting that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Insufficient Service of Process

         If a plaintiff fails to properly effectuate service, the defendant may seek to dismiss the plaintiffs complaint under Rule 12(b)(5). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5) (authorizing a court to dismiss a civil action when service of process is inadequate). "A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(5) turns on the legal sufficiency of the service of process." Holly v. Metro. Transit Auth., 213 Fed.Appx. 343, 344 (5th Cir. 2007). The burden of demonstrating the validity of service when an objection is made lies with the party making service. Id. (citing Carimi v. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., 959 F.2d 1344, 1346 (5th Cir. 1992)). The serving party bears the burden of proving the validity of service or the existence of good cause for failing to effect service in a timely manner. System Sign Supplies v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 903 F.2d 1011, 1013 (5th Cir. 1990); Aetna Business Credit, Inc. v. Universal Decor & Interior Design, Inc., 635 F.2d 434, 435 (5th Cir. 1990). The fact that the plaintiff is pro se does not excuse the failure to properly effect service of process. System Signs Supplies, 903 F.2d at 1013; Dupre v. Touro Infirmary, 235 F.3d 1340 (5th Cir. 2000) (unpub'd).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Pursuant to Rule 56, "[t]he [C]ourt shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draws all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Coleman v. Houston Independent School Dist, 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997).

         After a proper motion for summary judgment is made, the non-movant must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). At this stage, the Court does not evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991), cert, denied, 502 U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the evidence in the record is such that a reasonable jury, drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, could arrive at a verdict in that party's favor, the motion for summary judgment must be denied. Int'l Shortstop, Inc., 939 F.2d at 1263.

         On the other hand, the non-movant's burden is not satisfied by some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, or by conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or a mere scintilla of evidence. Little v. Liquid Air Corp.,37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Summary judgment is appropriate if the non-movant "fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). In other words, summary judgment will be appropriate only "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits if any, show that there is no genuine ...


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