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Johnson v. Samsung Electronics America Inc.

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

June 6, 2019

REGINALD JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., and NISI-TEXAS, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Nancy K. Johnson United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the court[1] is Defendants' 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, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         I. Case Background

         Plaintiff, an African-American, filed his original Complaint (Doc. 1) against Samsung Electronics America, Inc., (“SEA”) and NISI-Texas, Inc., (“NISI”) on January 23, 2019, claiming a violation of federally protected civil rights.

         On March 22, 2018, Plaintiff self-installed a 30-inch Electric Dual Convection Wall Oven, an SEA product.[2] The unit did not function properly, prompting Plaintiff to call SEA.[3] Technicians were sent to Plaintiff's home on two separate occasions but they refused to repair the unit, explaining to Plaintiff that he had incorrectly installed the oven.[4] Plaintiff then contacted Home Depot, which sent an installer to check out the unit.[5] That technician found no problem with the installation.[6] Plaintiff claims that Defendants “refuse[d] to repair [the oven], due to his race.”[7]

         Plaintiff filed the present suit alleging that Defendants had committed “unlawful discriminatory conduct and deceptive practices” under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 245, and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.[8] He claims federal question jurisdiction.[9]

         Defendants filed the pending motion to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” and that no factual basis supports Plaintiff's conclusion that discrimination occurred due to his race.[10]

         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. The court should construe the allegations in the complaint favorably to the pleader and accept as true all well-pleaded 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 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. Analysis

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his federally protected rights under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, a civil rights law that grants to all persons the same right “to make and enforce contracts . . . as is enjoyed by White citizens.” In order to sustain a claim under this statute, a plaintiff must show: (1) that he is a member of a racial minority; (2) that defendant discriminated against him on the basis of his race; and (3) that the discrimination implicated one or more of the activities enumerated in the statute, in this instance, the making and enforcing of a contract. Morris v. Dillard Dep't Stores, Inc., 277 F.3d 743, 751 (5th Cir. 2001) (citing Bellows v. Amoco Oil Co., 118 F.3d 268, 274 (5th Cir. 1997)).

         As Plaintiff alleges that he is an African-American, the first requirement is plainly satisfied. Assuming that the customer-purchase policies and repair protocols of SEA and NISI are contractual in nature, the third requirement is satisfied as well.

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts in support of the second element, that he was discriminated ...


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