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McGee v. Bossier Parish School Board

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

June 26, 2019

JAQUALINE MCGEE
v.
BOSSIER PARISH SCHOOL BOARD, ET AL.

          HORNSBY Judge.

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          DONALD E. WALTER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Bossier Parish School Board ("BPSB"), David Hennigan ("Hennigan"), Sherri Pool ("Pool")[1], Frank Reaugeau ("Reaugeau")[2], David Thrash ("Thrash"), and Scott Smith ("Smith"). [Rec. Doc. 11]. Also before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Red River United ("RRU") and Jackie Lansdale ("Lansdale"). [Rec. Doc. 13]. Plaintiff, Jaqualine McGee ("McGee"), has not filed an opposition to either motion. For the reasons assigned herein, Defendants' motions are GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND INFORMATION

         McGee is an employee of BPSB, where she formerly worked as a cafeteria manager. McGee states that her performance as cafeteria manager was considered satisfactory until January 2018, when the police interviewed her in connection with a criminal investigation of another employee. [Rec. Doc. 1-2 at 3]. McGee states that after the interview she started to receive reprimands. See id. On February 7, 2018, McGee was given a two-day suspension without pay for the inappropriate use of school funds to purchase alcohol for the cafeteria employee Christmas party. See id. at 6-7. Shortly thereafter, on March 5, 2018, McGee was given a written reprimand for her behavior at a scheduled community goodwill breakfast. See Id. at 8. When community leaders arrived at her school to serve breakfast to students, McGee informed them that the event had been canceled without verifying this information with her chain of command. See id. According to BPSB, the event was not canceled, and McGee should have responded to the situation in a more positive manner. See id. McGee was given a written reprimand, which noted that McGee exercised poor judgment and unsatisfactory work performance by failing to call a supervisor and clear up any confusion before rudely sending away the community leaders. See id. When McGee was presented with the written reprimand, she signed it as follows: "This is not what happened, I'm signing because I read the reprimand." See id.

         On March 8, 2018, Pool, BPSB's Human Resources Director, placed McGee on administrative leave, with pay, while the matter was being investigated. See id. at 10. The same day, Hennigan, BPSB Interim Food Service Supervisor, recommended to Smith, BPSB Superintendent, that McGee be terminated for insubordination and dishonesty. See id. at 11. Hennigan found that the allegations set forth in the March 5, 2018, reprimand were correct based on corroborating statements by Pool and Thrash, Principal of Bossier High School. See id.

         By letter dated July 3, 2018, Superintendent Smith informed McGee that he was contemplating disciplinary action against her because of her actions at the community breakfast and her lack of cooperation with the investigation of the incident. See id. at 14. McGee provided a written statement to Smith containing her version of the events surrounding the community breakfast. See id. at 15-16. Smith was not swayed by McGee's explanation. Smith decided to demote McGee to the position of food service technician. See id. at 17. McGee states that a younger, white female filled her management position. See id. at 3. Thereafter, McGee took extended sick leave for injuries she alleges were sustained from a January 2018 slip and fall in a freezer at the school.[3] See id. at 18-23, 47-48, 50-55, 59-60.

         McGee filed two official charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On September 11, 2018, McGee filed a charge against BPSB with the EEOC and the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, age, and retaliation. See id. at 7. In the charge, McGee states that she began receiving reprimands shortly after she was interviewed by the police in connection with a criminal investigation of another employee. See id. On September 17, 2018, the EEOC dismissed McGee's case, provided her with notice of her right to sue, and cautioned that a lawsuit must be filed within 90 days. See id. at 2.

         On November 14, 2018, McGee filed a second EEOC charge against her union, RRU, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, and genetic information. See id. at 78-82.[4] McGee described RRU's alleged discrimination as follows: "I think that [RRU] did not represent me to the best of their ability. Instead of fighting for me, they only tried to work out an agreement." See id. at 78. On November 27, 2018, McGee received a right to sue letter from the EEOC related to her charge against RRU. [Rec. Doc. 1 at 1].

         On January 28, 2019, McGee filed a Complaint in this Court seeking damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. See id. McGee named BPSB and its employees Hennigan, Pool, Reaugeau, Thrash, and Smith as Defendants. See id. McGee also named her union, RRU, and two RRU employees, Lansdale and Elizabeth Gipson. See id.[5]The Defendants move to dismiss McGee's claims with prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. [Rec. Docs. 11 and 13].

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I. Rule 12(b)(6) standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." When a complaint falls short of this directive, a defendant may move to dismiss the claim for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court "accepts 'all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'" Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dallas Area Rapid Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting Jones v. Greninger, 188 F.3d 322, 324 (5th Cir. 1999)).

         "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.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (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)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. If a pleading only contains "labels and conclusions" and "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action," the pleading does not meet the standards of Rule 8(a)(2). Iqbal 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citation omitted). Courts do not have to accept legal conclusions as facts. See id. However, the Court "should not dismiss [a] claim unless the plaintiff would ...


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