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Wilson v. EZ Exit Now, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

May 15, 2019

ALICIA WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
EZ EXIT NOW, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION

         Pending before the court[1] is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6). The court has considered the motion, the response, all other relevant filings, and the applicable law. For the reasons set forth below, the court RECOMMENDS that the motion be DENIED. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Outside Exhibits (Doc. 7) is GRANTED.

         I. Case Background

         On October 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action against Defendant, alleging that “it failed to hire her, rescinded her offer of employment, or terminated her because she is a Black female.”[2]

         In March 2016, Plaintiff applied to Defendant for the position of Call Center Supervisor, and, on April 1, 2016, Defendant interviewed Plaintiff.[3] At the end of the interview, Defendant offered Plaintiff the position, asked her to complete hiring paperwork, and set a start date.[4] However, when the start date arrived, Defendant's owner, Danny Cobb (“Cobb”), notified Plaintiff by phone “that the position was no longer needed.”[5]

         On the next day, the individual who had interviewed Plaintiff contacted her to find out why she had been absent on her scheduled start date.[6] When Plaintiff explained, the interviewer assured Plaintiff that Cobb's notification had been the result of miscommunication and that Plaintiff should report the following day.[7]

         Plaintiff reported to the workplace as instructed.[8] At that time, “Plaintiff was told that [Defendant] would not hire a black female to supervise employees[, ] and it was mentioned several times that the owner look[ed] at skin color when hiring supervisors.”[9]

         On April 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).[10] On October 11, 2017, the EEOC issued a determination finding that Defendant's decision not to hire Plaintiff was based on her race and gender.[11] On August 8, 2018, Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC and filed this action within ninety of receipt of that letter.[12]

         Plaintiff asserted that Defendant's treatment of Plaintiff violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[13] (“Title VII”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“Section 1981”).[14] Plaintiff sought actual damages, back pay, compensatory damages, exemplary damages, attorney's fees, costs, and interest.[15]

         On November 7, 2018, Defendant answered Plaintiff's complaint and alleged, among other defenses, that: (1) “Plaintiff's claims are barred because Plaintiff failed to show for work her first day of work when she was terminated. She was then allowed to return but upon return she stated she was only there interviewing for the position.” (2) “Defendant never met Plaintiff at any time and did not know of her race and/or ethnicity.” and (3) “Plaintiff voluntarily left the employment of Defendant, walking out [sic] any notice[] and did not return or communicate with Defendant after she left.”[16]

         Approximately one month later, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint.[17] The briefing on that motion is complete, and the court now addresses the motion to dismiss.

         II. Dismissal Standard

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of an action whenever the complaint, on its face, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When considering a motion to dismiss, the court should construe the allegations in the complaint favorably to the pleader and accept as true all well-pled facts. Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 803 n.44 (5th Cir. 2011)(quoting True v. Robles, 571 F.3d 412, 417 (5th Cir. 2009)).

         A complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. It need not contain “detailed factual allegations” but must include sufficient facts to indicate the plausibility of the claims asserted, raising the “right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Plausibility means that the factual content “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. 678. A plaintiff must provide “more than labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In other words, the factual allegations must allow for an inference of “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. 678.

         III. ...


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