United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are Defendant New Orleans Mission, Inc.'s
(“NO Mission”) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted (Rec. Doc. 7)
and Plaintiff Steven Scaffidi's (“Scaffidi”)
Response in Opposition (Rec. Doc. 15). For the reasons stated
below, IT IS ORDERED that NO Mission's
Motion to Dismiss is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE, after specified discovery, to reurge in
the context of a summary judgment motion.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
an employment discrimination case is which Plaintiff Steven
Scaffidi alleges religious discrimination, harassment,
hostile work environment, and retaliation. See Rec.
Doc. 1. Scaffidi is of Catholic faith. See Rec. Doc.
15 at 1. From December 2015 to March 2017, he was employed as
Director of Media, Marketing, and Development by Defendant NO
Mission, Inc. See Rec. Doc. 7-1 at 1. NO Mission is
a private Christian faith-based charitable non-profit
Louisiana corporation. See id. at 6. It was
established to minister homeless and economically
disadvantaged citizens. See id. at 6-7.
Mission claims that it terminated Scaffidi because there were
theological differences between Scaffidi's Catholic
beliefs and NO Mission's Evangelical beliefs. See
id. at 2. Scaffidi claims that, throughout his
employment, he was subjected to an unprecedented display of
repeated, egregious, and unwelcomed harassment from NO
Mission's management. See Rec. Doc. 15 at 1-3.
It seems that the core problem was that Scaffidi disobeyed
the request of NO Mission's senior management to refrain
from promoting his Catholic based documentary, The
Sojourners. See Rec. Doc. 7-1 at 12. The
content of the documentary is contradictory to NO
Mission's Evangelic statement of faith and scriptural
interpretation. See id. at 13.
April 20, 2018, Scaffidi filed his complaint. See
Rec. Doc. 1. On June 29, 2018, NO Mission filed its motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. See Rec. Doc. 7. Plaintiff filed his
response in opposition. See Rec. Doc. 15. NO Mission
did not seek leave to file a reply.
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
party to move for dismissal of a complaint for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To survive a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff's
complaint “must contain ‘enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Varela v. Gonzalez, 773 F.3d 704, 707 (5th Cir.
2014) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). In other words, a plaintiff's
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “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.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 556 U.S. at 556).
deciding whether a plaintiff has met his or her burden, a
court “accept[s] all well-pleaded factual allegations
as true and interpret[s] the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, but ‘[t]hreadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements' cannot establish facial
plausibility.” Snow Ingredients, Inc. v. SnoWizard,
Inc., 833 F.3d 512, 520 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678) (some internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). Plaintiff must “nudge [his
or her] claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Court must, in most instances, limit itself to the
plaintiff's complaint, including its attachments. See
O'Neal v. Cargill, Inc., 178 F.Supp.3d 408, 413
(E.D. La. 2016). If a motion to dismiss presents exhibits
outside of the pleadings that are not excluded by the court,
the motion must be treated as a motion for summary judgment.
alleged sufficient facts in his Complaint. Scaffidi only
attached the EECO Determination letter to his Complaint.
See Rec. Doc. 15 at 11. NO Mission refences three
other sources to support its motion to dismiss: its Articles
of Incorporation and Amended and Restated Articles of
Incorporation; its website; and its response to LWC.
See Rec. Doc. 7. At most, two of the three sources
may be considered by the Court as part of NO Mission's
Motion to Dismiss. See Tucker v. Waffle House, Inc.,
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52991 *1, *9 (E.D. La. 2013)(stating
that public records and some EEOC documents can be considered
without converting a motion to dismiss to a motion for
summary judgment). However, this Court will not, at this
juncture, convert this motion to dismiss to a motion for
addition to pointing the Court to documents beyond the four
corners of Scaffidi's complaint, NO Mission asks this
Court to dismiss Scaffidi's claims on grounds that have
yet to be established. Specifically, NO Mission
self-proclaims that it is a bona fide religious organization
and therefore protected as a matter of law by 42 U.S.C.
§2000e-1(a), the religious organization exemption, from
Scaffidi's claims of religious harassment,
discrimination, and retaliation. See id.
VII makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer
to fail or refuse to hire or terminate any individual, or
otherwise discriminate against any individual, because of the
individual's religion. See 42 U.S.C.
§2000e-2(a)(1). Title VII also makes it an unlawful
employment practice for an employer to discriminate against
an employee because the employee has opposed an unlawful
employment practice. See 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3(a).
VII contains exemptions applicable to religious
organizations. See 42 U.S.C. §2000e-1(a).