United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LINDSAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Under Rule
12(b)(6) (Doc. 14), filed October 10, 2016. After careful
consideration of the motion, pleadings, and applicable law,
the court grants Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, the court
dismisses Plaintiff Paulette Jones's
(“Plaintiff” or “Jones”) claim
against Defendant Earth Day Texas, Inc. (“Earth
Day”) and Defendant Trammell S. Crow
(“Crow”). The court, however, will allow Jones to
file an amended pleading.
Factual and Procedural Background
1, 2016, Jones, an African-American female, filed this action
against Defendants Earth Day and Crow (collectively,
“Defendants”). She contends that she was
terminated from her employment because of her race in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”). Defendants contend that
Jones's Original Complaint (“Complaint”)
should be dismissed because she failed to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. In particular, Defendants
contend that: (1) Crow cannot be liable as a matter of law
because he is not an employer; (2) Jones failed to exhaust
her administrative remedies as to her Title VII claims
against Crow; and (3) Jones failed to set forth sufficient
allegations to entitle her to relief under Title VII.
counters that she has adequately pleaded a claim of race
discrimination. Further, she requests that the court allow
her to file an amended pleading if it determines that the
allegations of her Complaint fail to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
defeat a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Reliable
Consultants, Inc. v. Earle, 517 F.3d 738, 742 (5th Cir.
2008); Guidry v. American Pub. Life Ins. Co., 512
F.3d 177, 180 (5th Cir. 2007). A claim meets the plausibility
test “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal citations omitted). While a complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, it must set forth
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation
omitted). The “[f]actual allegations of [a complaint]
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).” Id. (quotation marks, citations, and
footnote omitted). When the allegations of the pleading do
not allow the court to infer more than the mere possibility
of wrongdoing, they fall short of showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept all
well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true and view them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Sonnier v.
State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., 509 F.3d 673, 675 (5th
Cir. 2007); Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dallas
Area Rapid Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir.
2004); Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th Cir.
1996). In ruling on such a motion, the court cannot look
beyond the pleadings. Id.; Spivey v.
Robertson, 197 F.3d 772, 774 (5th Cir. 1999). The
pleadings include the complaint and any documents attached to
it. Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d
496, 498-99 (5th Cir. 2000). Likewise,
“‘[d]ocuments that a defendant attaches to a
motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if
they are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are
central to [the plaintiff's] claims.'”
Id. (quoting Venture Assocs. Corp. v. Zenith
Data Sys. Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993)). In
this regard, a document that is part of the record but not
referred to in a plaintiff's complaint and not
attached to a motion to dismiss may not be considered by the
court in ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion. Gines v. D.R.
Horton, Inc., 699 F.3d 812, 820 & n.9 (5th Cir.
2012) (citation omitted). Further, it is well-established and
‘“clearly proper in deciding a 12(b)(6) motion
[that a court may] take judicial notice of matters of public
record.”' Funk v. Stryker Corp., 631 F.3d
777, 783 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Norris v. Hearst
Trust, 500 F.3d 454, 461 n.9 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing
Cinel v. Connick, 15 F.3d 1338, 1343 n.6 (5th Cir.
ultimate question in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is whether the
complaint states a valid claim when it is viewed in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Great Plains Trust Co.
v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 313 F.3d 305, 312 (5th
Cir. 2002). While well-pleaded facts of a complaint are to be
accepted as true, legal conclusions are not “entitled
to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679 (citation omitted). Further, a court is not to strain
to find inferences favorable to the plaintiff and is not to
accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions, or
legal conclusions. R2 Invs. LDC v. Phillips, 401
F.3d 638, 642 (5th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted). The court
does not evaluate the plaintiff's likelihood of success;
instead, it only determines whether the plaintiff has pleaded
a legally cognizable claim. United States ex rel. Riley
v. St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp., 355 F.3d 370, 376
(5th Cir. 2004). Stated another way, when a court deals with
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, its task is to test the sufficiency
of the allegations contained in the pleadings to determine
whether they are adequate enough to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Mann v. Adams Realty Co., 556
F.2d 288, 293 (5th Cir. 1977); Doe v. Hillsboro Indep.
Sch. Dist., 81 F.3d 1395, 1401 (5th Cir. 1996),
rev'd on other grounds, 113 F.3d 1412 (5th Cir.
1997) (en banc). Accordingly, denial of a 12(b)(6) motion has
no bearing on whether a plaintiff ultimately establishes the
necessary proof to prevail on a claim that withstands a
12(b)(6) challenge. Adams, 556 F.2d at 293.
Substantive Allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint
ensure that the substance of Jones's allegations are not
misstated, the court sets forth the factual bases for her
claim of race discrimination. Jones alleges as follows:
5. Plaintiff began work for Defendants on or about July 15,
2014. Her position was Education Coordinator (a sales leasing
agent). As part of her employment she brought in schools and
colleges to participate in Earth Day, the actual event put on
by Earth Day, Texas Inc.
6. Plaintiff outsold all other agents and coordinators in all
the years that Earth Day, Texas had been extant. She broke
sales records for bringing in schools and districts that