United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
SARA SLABISAK, M.D.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AT TYLER AND GOOD SHEPHERD MEDICAL CENTER.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant University of Texas Health
Science Center at Tyler's (“UTHSC”) (Partial)
Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (Dkt. #38). After
reviewing the relevant pleadings and motion, the Court finds
Defendant's motion should be granted.
or about July 1, 2015, through January 13, 2016, Plaintiff
Sara Slabisak worked as a medical resident at UTHSC and Good
Shepherd Medical Center (“Good Shepherd”) in
Longview, Texas. During her time as a resident, Plaintiff
alleges she experienced continuous verbal, physical, and
sexual harassment by Mohamad Makkouk (“Makkouk”),
her supervising resident. During her six-month evaluation,
Plaintiff reported the situation to the program director, Dr.
Ifeanyi E. Eluenze (“Eluenze”). Additionally,
Plaintiff met with David Conley, legal compliance officer and
deputy coordinator in the human resources department at
UTHSC, and his colleague, Donald Henry, deputy coordinator.
Plaintiff further detailed Makkouk's alleged behavior in
a letter she provided at the request of the human resources
department. On or about January 13, 2016, Eluenze suspended
Plaintiff indefinitely from the residency program.
August 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit against UTHSC and Good
Shepherd. On December 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed her amended
complaint alleging, among other things, that UTHSC violated
her rights under Title VII and Title IX. Specifically,
Plaintiff claims she was subjected to a hostile work
environment, which UTHSC failed to address and correct.
Moreover, Plaintiff avers UTHSC discriminated and retaliated
against her when she informed them of the hostile work
January 2, 2018, UTHSC filed their Motion to Dismiss (Dkt.
#38) arguing Title VII preempts Plaintiff's Title IX
claims. Plaintiff filed her response (Dkt. #41) on January
16, 2018, and UTHSC filed its reply (Dkt. #46) on Janaury 23,
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that each claim in a
complaint include a “short and plain statement . . .
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Each claim must include enough factual
allegations “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550. U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
12(b)(6) motion allows a party to move for dismissal of an
action when the complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
Court must accept as true well-pleaded facts in
plaintiff's complaint and view those facts in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Bowlby v. City of
Aberdeen, 681 F.3d 215, 219 (5th Cir. 2012). The Court
may consider “the complaint, any documents attached to
the complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to
dismiss that are central to the claim and referenced by the
complaint.” Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v.
Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010).
The Court must then determine whether the complaint states a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face. “A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the [C]ourt to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Gonzalez v. Kay, 577 F.3d
600, 603 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “But where the well-pleaded
facts do not permit the [C]ourt to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it
has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
“[t]o 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.'” Id. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
argues that Plaintiff's Title IX claims warrant dismissal
for two reasons. First, Title VII preempts Plaintiff's
Title IX claims. Second, even if not preempted,
Plaintiff's complaint fails to allege plausible Title IX
claims. The Court finds it is only necessary to address the
Lakoski v. James, the Fifth Circuit held that
“Title VII provides the exclusive remedy for
individuals alleging employment discrimination on the basis
of sex in federally funded educational institutions.”
66 F.3d 751, 753 (5th Cir. 1995). Two years later, the Fifth
Circuit expanded on this rule in Lowery v. Tex. A&M
Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242 (5th Cir. 1997).
Lowery, Lowery worked as the head Women's
Basketball Coach and later the Women's Athletic
Coordinator. Id. at 244. Lowery brought suit against
the university under Title IX alleging the university
“was guilty of employment discrimination on the basis
of sex and misallocation of resources among male and female
athletes.” Id. Specifically, Lowery alleged
that “as a consequence of her participation in
complaints and investigations challenging
noncompliance” with Title IX, the university
“retaliated against her by denying her promotion to the
post of Athletic Coordinator, removing her from the position
of Women's Athletic Coordinator, and subjecting her and
her team to continuing retaliation and harassment.”
Id. Lowery argued that her retaliation ...