Harris v. Southern Administrative Services et al
ORDER granting 12 SAS's unopposed motion to dismiss; and dismissing this action with prejudice. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 10/23/2017. (cmn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
SERVICES and STONERIDGE
HEALTH & REHAB CENTER,
On July 21, 2017, plaintiff Sharia Harris filed this pro se action against
Southern Administrative Services (SAS) and Stoneridge Health & Rehab Center
(SHRC) alleging employment discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Now before the Court is a
motion of SAS to dismiss [doc.#12] on grounds, inter alia, that this action is timebarred. Plaintiff has not responded to SAS’s motion to dismiss and the time for
doing so has passed. Having considered the matter, the Court grants SAS’s motion
By order entered July 25, 2017 [doc.#5], the Court instructed plaintiff that she is
required to be familiar and comply with all the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as well as the
An action alleging a violation of Title VII and the ADA must be commenced
within 90 days of the plaintiff’s receipt of a right-to-sue letter from the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). See, e.g., Coleman v. Correct
Care Solutions, No. 8:13cv82, 2014 WL 4264774, at *3 n.1 (D. Neb. Aug. 28,
2014); Macon v. Cedarcroft Health Services, Inc., No. 4:12-cv-1481 CAS, 2013
WL 1283865, at *4 (E.D. Mo. March 27, 2013). Courts presume that a right-tosue letter is received three days after the EEOC mailed it. Langford v. Wilkins, 101
F.Supp.3d 809, 820 (E.D. Ark. 2015) (citing Baldwin County Welcome Center v.
Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 148 n.1 (1984)). In this respect, the law presumes that
correspondence properly addressed, stamped and mailed was received by the
individual or entity to whom it was addressed. Roush v. Kartridge Pak Co., 838
F.Supp. 1328, 1335 (S.D. Iowa 1993) (collecting cases). While the presumption is
a rebuttable one, it is a very strong presumption and can only be rebutted by
specific facts and not by invoking another presumption. Id.
Here, the EEOC’s right-to-sue letter was mailed on January 4, 2017, but
plaintiff did not file this action until July 21, 2017. Thus, plaintiff filed this action
well after the 90-day limitations period and she has not presented the Court with
any circumstances that would justify equitable tolling of the limitations period.
Local Rules of this Court and that failure to so comply can result in dismissal of plaintiff’s claim.
See Hill v. John Chezik Imports, 869 F.2d 1122, 1124 (8th Cir. 1989) (although 90day limitations period is subject to equitable tolling in appropriate circumstances,
courts have generally reserved the remedy of equitable tolling for circumstances
which were truly beyond the control of the plaintiff).
The Court notes that there is an unverified handwritten notation on the rightto-sue letter that states it was “re-issued on 4/25/17 not received.”2 But “whether
the present action is time barred must be determined with reference to only the first
Notice of Right to Sue. Otherwise, the time limitations … would be meaningless,
because potential Title VII plaintiffs could evade those requirements simply by
seeking additional Notices of Right to Sue whenever they pleased.” Soso Liang Lo
v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 787 F.2d 827, 828 (2nd Cir. 1986) (cited
with approval in Frazier v. Vilsack, 419 Fed.Appx. 686, 690 (8th Cir. 2011)). See
also Santini v. Cleveland Clinic Florida, 232 F.3d 823, 825 (11th Cir. 2000) (“A
second Notice tolls the limitation period only if the EEOC issues such Notice
pursuant to a reconsideration on the merits …”); Zamora v. GC Servs., LP, EP-15cv-00048-DCG, 2015 WL 13305864 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 31, 2015) (in commencing
the running of the statute of limitation from presumed date of first delivery where
plaintiff claimed he did not receive a first EEOC letter but admitted receipt of a
Both right-to-sue letters were mailed to the same still-current address of plaintiff.
second letter at the same address, court noted that for it “to adopt a different rule
would allow all plaintiffs to manipulate the limitation period by simply making one
phone call to the EEOC in which they state that a letter properly mailed was not
received.”). Plaintiff has not presented any specific facts that would rebut the
presumption that the EEOC’s right-to-sue letter was received by her when it was
first issued. Accordingly, the Court grants SAS’s unopposed motion to dismiss
[doc.#12] and dismisses this action with prejudice.3 The Court will enter judgment
IT IS SO ORDERED this 23rd day of October 2017.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
This dismissal is sua sponte with respect to SHRC as SHRC apparently has not yet been
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