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Hayden v. City of Fort Worth

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

September 11, 2017

EDWIN HAYDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF FORT WORTH, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN McBRYDE United States District Judge.

         Came on for consideration the motion of defendant, City of Fort Worth, to dismiss plaintiff's first amended complaint. The court, having considered the motion, the response of plaintiff, Edwin Hayden, the record, and applicable authorities, finds that the motion should be granted in part.

         I.

         Plaintiff's Claims

         The operative pleading is plaintiff's first amended complaint[1] filed July 28, 2017. Doc.[2] 16. In it, he alleges:

         Plaintiff is a police officer employed by defendant. Doc. 16 at 2, ¶ 6. In December 2015, he sought a position as a school resource officer at Chisholm Trail High School. Id., ¶ 12. Lieutenant Elgin ("Elgin") told plaintiff that "they" were going to place him at the school and that the school wanted him. Id., ¶ 13. Shortly after that meeting, plaintiff's supervisor, Sergeant Wisdom ("Wisdom"), told plaintiff he had already promised the position to Officer Meyer a couple of months earlier. Id., ¶ 14. Officer Myers is a younger, Caucasian male. Id. at 3, ¶ 15. Wisdom and Elgin promised plaintiff that he would be given the position when it next became available. Id., ¶¶ 17, 18. Officer Myers left the position in February 2016 and plaintiff expressed his interest by email and told Elgin he wanted the position. Id., ¶¶ 19, 21-22. Defendant denied plaintiff the position and awarded it to another Caucasian officer. Id., ¶ 25; id. at 4, ¶ 29. The position at Chisholm Trail was a better position than the one plaintiff held for a number of reasons. Id., ¶¶ 30-40. Plaintiff complained several times on the basis of age and race discrimination. Id. at 5, ¶¶ 42-45. Plaintiff was retaliated against because of his complaints by being denied a better position during the summer. Id., ¶¶ 47-51; Id. at 6, ¶¶ 52-62. On or about June 15, 2016, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the- United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Id. at 7, ¶ 64. On or around June 22, 2016, defendant mandated that plaintiff enter the Employee Assistance Program ("EAP"), giving him conflicting reasons for doing so. Id., ¶¶ 65, 66.

         Plaintiff asserts claims for race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17 ("Title VII"), and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 & 1983. He also asserts a claim for age discrimination and retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-34 ("ADEA").

         II.

         Grounds of the Motion

         Defendant maintains that plaintiff has failed to state any plausible claims against it'. In particular, defendant says that plaintiff has failed to state a claim under section 1981 because he has not alleged that he was subjected to discrimination or retaliation based on an official policy or custom of defendant. Second, plaintiff has failed to allege facts to support a plausible claim under Title VII. And, third, plaintiff has failed to allege facts to support a plausible claim under the ADEA.

         III.

         Rule 8(a)(2) Pleading Standards

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in a general way, the applicable standard of pleading. It requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), "in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, " Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks and ellipsis omitted). Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, the "showing" contemplated by Rule 8 requires the plaintiff to do more than simply allege legal conclusions or recite the elements of a cause of action. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3. Thus, while a court must accept all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, it need not credit bare legal conclusions that are unsupported by any factual underpinnings. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) ("While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.").

         Moreover, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the facts pleaded must allow the court to infer that the plaintiff's right to relief is plausible. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. To allege a plausible right to relief, the facts pleaded must suggest liability; allegations that are merely consistent with unlawful conduct are insufficient. Id. In other words, where the facts pleaded do no more than permit the court to infer the possibility of misconduct, the complaint has not shown that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. at 679. "Determining whether a complaint states a ...


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