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Hosey v. University of New Orleans

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 1, 2019


          ORDER & REASONS


         Before the Court is a motion to dismiss filed by defendant, the State of Louisiana, through the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System (the “Board”), [1] to which plaintiff Glenn Hosey (“Hosey”) responds in opposition, [2] and in further support of which the Board replies.[3] Having considered the parties' memoranda and the applicable law, the Court issues this Order & Reasons.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This matter concerns allegations of racial discrimination. On July 6, 2018, Hosey, an African-American man, filed this action against the Board alleging that he was prevented from using and renewing his gym membership at the University of New Orleans (“UNO”) because of his race.[4] Hosey alleges that on June 13, 2017, the gym's receptionist refused to look up his membership information when he did not have his membership identification card.[5] He asked to speak with the assistant director and was given an email address.[6] Later that day, Hosey found his membership identification card, and was able to sign in and use the gym.[7] Hosey used the gym again on June 14, 2017, without incident.[8]

         Hosey alleges that on June 15, 2017, he was informed that there was a block on his account and he would have to meet with the director at 2:00 p.m. before he could use the gym.[9]According to Hosey, the police were called to the meeting, and the gym director filed a false police report accusing him of skipping the line, sneaking into the building by using the handicap entrance, and engaging in hostile interactions with the staff on June 13, 2017.[10] The gym director also claims that she had incident reports concerning Hosey and his father, but refused to give Hosey the reports.[11] Hosey filed a complaint with UNO's human resources department regarding the gym director's alleged racist behavior.[12]

         Hosey alleges that on June 27, 2017, he attempted to renew his gym membership, but was informed that he could no longer be a member of the gym.[13] Hosey alleges that he was denied entry to the gym based on his race and alleges that the Board is liable for violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Louisiana Constitution article I, § 12, because he was forcibly removed and prevented “from enjoying the contractual benefits associated with his membership fee, solely on the basis of his race or other impermissible rationale.”[14]

         II. Pending Motion

         The Board filed the instant motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim arguing that Hosey's claims are prescribed.[15] The Board contends that Hosey's claims are subject to a one-year prescriptive period (i.e., statute of limitations), and Hosey filed his claims more than one year after the alleged incidents.[16] Hosey argues that his claims brought under § 1981 are subject to a four-year prescriptive period because he alleges that he was prevented from enjoying the benefits of his contractual gym membership.[17]

         The Board agues in its reply memorandum that Hosey's Louisiana-law claim should be dismissed because he does not address it in his opposition memorandum and that his claim under § 1981 should be dismissed because it is really about the failure to renew the gym membership - that is, to enter into a contract, and not to enjoy a contract - because he was never denied admission to the gym while he was a member.[18]

         III. LAW & ANALYSIS

         A. Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a complaint to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8 “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). The statement of the claim must “‘give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A pleading does not comply with Rule 8 if it offers “labels and conclusions, ” “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-57).

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to move to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “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.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is plausible on the face of the complaint “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. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Plausibility does not equate to probability, but rather “it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of “entitlement to relief.”'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Thus, if the facts pleaded in the complaint “do not permit the court to infer more than a mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - ‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). Motions to dismiss are disfavored and rarely granted. Turner v. Pleasant, 663 F.3d 770, 775 (5th Cir. 2011) (citing Harrington v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 563 F.3d 141, 147 (5th Cir. 2009)).

         In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a court employs the two-pronged approach utilized in Twombly. The court “can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions [unsupported by factual allegations], are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. However, “[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court ...

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