United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6)
filed by Defendant. Plaintiff filed a response. (Doc. 7). For the
reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
6) is GRANTED.
se Plaintiff owned a driving school that was closed by
Defendant on March 25, 2014. (Doc. 1 at p. 1). Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant claimed Plaintiffs school was not
licensed, even though it actually was. (Id.)
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant's true motive for
closing the school was racially discriminatory. Plaintiff,
who is African American, asserts that other driving schools
with white owners were opening up in the state, and that
Defendant sought to close Plaintiffs school solely because he
was African American. (Id.)
seeks both injunctive relief and damages. (Doc. 3 at p. 2).
It is unclear what legal claims Plaintiff seeks to bring, as
his complaint is devoid of citations to constitutional or
federal statutory law. The Court will assume that Plaintiff
seeks to bring Title VII and §1983 Fourteenth Amendment
Equal Protection claims because the gist of Plaintiffs
complaint appears to be racial discrimination. The Court will
not infer any other legal claims from the facts alleged. See
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985) (holding that although district courts must
construe pro se complaints liberally, courts cannot
be expected to construct full blown claims from sentence
fragments). Defendant seeks to dismiss Plaintiffs claims
based on (1) lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule
12(b)(1) and (2) failure to state a claim under Rule
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a claim is"
'properly dismissed for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction when the court lacks the statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate' the claim."
In re FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Prods. Liab.Litig.,
668 F.3d 281, 286 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Home Builders
Ass'n v. City of Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th
Cir. 1998)). To "prevent[ ] a court without jurisdiction
from prematurely dismissing a case with prejudice/' a
court should consider a Rule 12(b)(1) motion for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction before addressing any motions
that concern the merits of a case. Id. at 286-87
(citing Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161
(5th Cir. 2001)).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) is analyzed under the
same standard as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
Benton u. United States, 960 F.2d 19, 21 (5th Cir.
1992). That standard seeks to determine whether "a
complaint ... contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "[F]acial
plausibility" exists "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. at 678 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). Hence, the complaint need not set out
"detailed factual allegations," but something
"more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action" is
required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. "Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Id.
Title VII Claim
extent Plaintiff seeks to bring a Title VII racial
discrimination claim, Defendant argues that the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case because
Plaintiff failed to file a charge of discrimination with the
Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or a comparable state
agency before fifing suit. (Doc. 6-1 at p. 6). The Court
agrees. Timely filing of an EEOC charge is a prerequisite to
bringing suit under Title VII. Price u. Choctaw Glove
& Safety Co., Inc., 459 F.3d 595, 598 (5th Cir.
2006). There is no indication in Plaintiffs complaint that he
filed an EEOC charge. Therefore, the Court is without
jurisdiction to hear Plaintiffs Title VII claim.
§ 1983 Claim
also appears to have properly alleged the elements of a
Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim under 42 U.S.C.
§1983. To state a claim under the Equal Protection
Clause, a plaintiff must allege that a state actor
intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff because of
membership in a protected class, which includes race.
Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 247-48 (1976). In
this instance, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant closed his
driving school because he is African American. This, on its
face, is a valid equal protection claim.
so, the Court concludes that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to hear Plaintiffs claim because it is barred by
the Eleventh Amendment. The Eleventh Amendment provides that
"[t]he Judicial power of the United States shall not be
construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced
or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of
another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign
State." The Eleventh Amendment bars private suits in
federal court against states, including § 1983 suits
against state agencies. Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S.
332, 339 (1979). Pennkurst ...