United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
PETRINA L. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
DALLAS CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
FISH Senior United States District Judge
the court is the defendant's motion to dismiss (docket
entry 12) and the plaintiff's motion for leave to amend
her complaint (docket entry 14). For the reasons stated
below, the defendant's motion is granted, and the
plaintiff's motion is denied.
plaintiff, Petrina L. Thompson (“Thompson”),
brings this action against the defendant, the Dallas City
Attorney's Office (“the City”), for unlawful
employment practices and discrimination on the basis of race,
color, age, and gender.
Original Complaint (“Complaint”) at 1 (docket
entry 1). Thompson began working for the City in October 2011
as an Assistant City Attorney in the Domestic Violence Unit.
Id. ¶ 4. Thompson alleges that Fredrick
Williams (“Williams”), the chief prosecutor who
had hired her, sexually harassed her from the onset of her
employment by repeatedly asking her to be his girlfriend and
telling her that he “didn't want to hire [her]
because he wanted to date [her] instead.” Id.
¶¶ 5-6 (alteration in original). Despite
acquiescing to a relationship with Williams, Thompson
attempted to end the relationship shortly afterwards.
Id. ¶¶ 6-7.
response, Thompson alleges, Williams became angry, physically
attacked her, and subsequently began a retaliation campaign
against her in the workplace. Id. ¶¶ 7-8.
Among other acts, Williams increased his sexual advances
towards her; her work mysteriously disappeared from her
cubicle; she handled more work than similarly-situated
attorneys; and she was mocked by staff and employees because
of her age. Id. ¶ 8. Thompson claims that by
2014 this behavior had become “accepted and condoned by
virtually all employees.” Id. ¶ 12.
October 2014, Thompson filed a complaint with the human
resources office, and at some point afterwards, Williams
resigned. Id. ¶¶ 16, 18. However, Thompson
asserts that the retaliation and harassment continued.
Id. ¶ 18. In December 2014, Thompson was called
into a meeting with three superiors who allegedly blamed
Thompson for the hostile work environment and informed her
that she would be transferred to the General Litigation
Division. Id. ¶ 19. Once in the General
Litigation Division, Thompson continued to suffer harassment
and disparate treatment: she was given “busy work,
” denied a standard paralegal or secretary, and refused
training. Id. ¶ 21. Thompson also claims that
she was paid less than similarly-situated male attorneys.
Id. ¶ 23. After one year in this division,
Thompson was terminated with the explanation, “[i]t
just isn't working out.” Id. ¶ 22.
December 8, 2016, Thompson filed suit in the 192nd District
Court of Dallas County, Texas, alleging employment
discrimination and retaliation in violation of Texas Labor
Code §§ 21.051 and 21.055. Original Petition ¶
26 (No. DC-16-15685); see also First Amended State
Petition (“Amended State Petition”) ¶ 26
February 26, 2017, Thompson filed the instant suit, asserting
claims of discrimination and retaliation in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act. Complaint at 7-9. In
addition, she brings a gender-based pay disparity claim under
the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). Id. at 9. On
March 21, 2017, the City filed a motion to dismiss based on
arguments of improper claim-splitting between the two suits,
and because the Dallas City Attorney's Office lacks the
legal capacity to be sued. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
and Brief in Support (“Motion to Dismiss”) at 1
(docket entry 12). The same day, the City filed a motion for
summary judgment in the state court action because Thompson
had failed to serve process within the limitations period.
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (“Motion
for Summary Judgment”) at 1 (No. DC-16-15685). The
state court proceeded to grant the City's motion for
summary judgment on April 18, 2017. Order and Final Judgment
(“State Court Order and Final Judgment”) (No.
DC-16-15685). On June 16, 2017, the state court denied
Thompson's ensuing motions for reinstatement and a new
trial. Order -- Deny (1) (No. DC-16-15685); Order -- Deny (2)
in the instant case, Thompson filed a response to the
City's motion to dismiss on April 10, 2017.
Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
and Brief in Support (“Plaintiff's Response”)
(docket entry 13). On April 16, 2017, Thompson also filed a
motion for leave of court to amend her complaint to name the
proper defendant, the City of Dallas. Plaintiff's Motion
for Leave of Court to Amend Complaint (“Plaintiff's
Motion to Amend”) (docket entry 14). The City replied
to Thompson's response on April 24, 2017, emphasizing the
applicability of res judicata to this case as a
result of the summary judgment entered by the state
court. Defendant's Reply in Support of Its
12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (“Defendant's
Reply”) at 4-6 (docket entry 15). The City also filed a
timely response to Thompson's motion to amend, to which
Thompson filed a timely reply. Defendant's Response in
Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
Complaint (“Defendant's Response”) (docket
entry 16); Plaintiff's Reply to Motion for Leave of Court
to Amend Complaint (“Plaintiff's Reply”)
(docket entry 17). The motions are now ripe for decision.