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Flowers v. Advantage Resources

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

April 29, 2019

DAMION D. FLOWERS, Plaintiff,
v.
ADVANTAGE RESOURCES, Defendant.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          DAVID L. HORAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Damion D. Flowers's pro se, ostensibly employment-related action has been referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from United States District Judge David C. Godbey. The Court granted Mr. Flowers leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) and issued a notice of deficiency regarding the complaint as filed [Dkt. No. 7] (the “NOD”). And he responded to the NOD by filing an amended complaint. See Dkt. Nos. 13 & 14. The undersigned now enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that, for the reasons explained below, the Court should dismiss this action with prejudice.

         Applicable Background

         Mr. Flower's original complaint alleged, in full, “Racial discrimination and discrimination. ... Reason I'm unemployed and can't work 2 surgeries. Ran into by a 18 wheeler. Another car accident.” Dkt. No. 2 at 1-2. And it included a Notice of Right to Sue issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). See Id. at 3-5. This filing prompted the undersigned to issue the NOD, which informed Mr. Flowers:

This order is entered to notify Plaintiff of certain deficiencies in the complaint as filed that must be remedied no later than April 22, 2019 to allow this action to proceed.
The Court further notifies Plaintiff that failure to comply with this order by filing an amended complaint will result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).
As filed, Plaintiff's complaint consists of a Notice of Right to Sue issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and alleges “Racial discrimination and discrimination” but lacks facts to support a claim of discrimination, instead asserting that Plaintiff cannot work because he was in an automobile accident. See Dkt. No. 2. The complaint does not therefore comply with the applicable pleading standards.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a plaintiff's complaint “must contain” “a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction”; “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a).
In this regard, the Court notifies Plaintiff that, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, but a plaintiff must allege more than labels and conclusions, and, while a court must accept all of the plaintiff's allegations as true, it is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, a threadbare or formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, will not suffice. See id.
Instead, to survive dismissal, a plaintiff must “plead facts sufficient to show” that the claims asserted have “substantive plausibility” by stating “simply, concisely, and directly events” that a plaintiff contends entitle him or her to relief. Johnson v. City of Shelby, Miss., 574 U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014) (per curiam) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)-(3), (d)(1), (e)).
And, because Plaintiff appears to be asserting a claim of employment discrimination, the Court further advises him that the prima facie elements of such a claim are that he
(1) is a member of a protected group; (2) was qualified for the position at issue; (3) was discharged or suffered some adverse employment action by the employer; and (4) was replaced by someone outside his protected group or was treated less favorably than other similarly situated employees outside the protected group.

McCoy v. City of Shreveport, 492 F.3d 551, 556 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing Wheeler v. BL Dev. Corp., 415 F.3d 399, 405 (5th Cir. 2005)).

Regarding employment discrimination claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has cautioned that a plaintiff need not make a showing of each prong of the prima facie test at the pleading stage. See Raj v. La. State Univ., 714 F.3d 322, 331 (5th Cir. 2013) (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A.,534 U.S. 506, 510-12 (2002)). “Raj, however, does not exempt a plaintiff from alleging facts sufficient to establish the elements of her claims.” Meadows v. City of Crowley, 731 Fed.Appx. 317, 318 (5th Cir. 2018) (per curiam) (citing Chhim v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, 836 F.3d 467, 470 (5th Cir. 2016) (per curiam) (“Although [the plaintiff] did not have to submit evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination at ...

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