WASHINGTON v. MOHAWK INDUSTRIES CORPORATION
ORDER to Recast Complaint within 21 days; granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. There will be no service of process until further order from the Court. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE C ASHLEY ROYAL on 10/26/2017. (lap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
MOHAWK INDUSTRIES; JEFF GREEN;
BRIAN SHREWSBURY; DEREK LOVING;
JUANITA DREW; and ROBERT
ORDER ON MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Currently before the Court is Plaintiff Dominick Washington’s Motion to Proceed
In Forma Pauperis [Doc. 2]. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, seeks to initiate an employment
discrimination action against his former employer Defendant Mohawk Industries and
several individuals in management positions, for unlawful employment actions based
his on race under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e‐2(a) (“Title VII”).
Plaintiff has moved the Court for permission to proceed without prepayment of fees. It
appears Plaintiff is unable, because of his poverty, to pay the cost of commencing this
action and still provide for himself and his dependents, and therefore the Court
GRANTS his Motion [Doc. 2] to proceed in forma pauperis. 1 However, if Plaintiff wishes
to maintain this action, he must file a recast Complaint, which will supercede his
original Complaint, as hereinafter directed.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), a court must sua sponte dismiss an indigent
nonprisoner’s complaint or portion thereof which (1) is found to be frivolous or
malicious, (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or (3) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.2 This statute “accords
judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint’s factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”3 A
dismissal under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim is governed by the
same standard as a dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).4 As a
result, “[d]ismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate when the facts as pleaded
do not state a claim for relief that is ‘plausible on its face.’”5
As is its duty, this Court has scrutinized Plaintiff’s Complaint and has liberally
28 U.S.C. § 1915.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b).
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
See, e.g., Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997).
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)).
construed all of Plaintiff’s assertions.6 Plaintiff filed his Complaint alleging Defendants
failed to promote him and retaliated against him based on his color and race. To
support his claims, Plaintiff alleges he was disciplined for allegedly making the wrong
label, but a white worker with the same job title did the same thing as Plaintiff and was
First, the Eleventh Circuit has long held that suits against individuals are not
allowed under Title VII, as individual Defendants are not subject to liability pursuant to
Title VII.7 Thus, Plaintiff’s Title VII claims against the individually‐named Defendants
Second, Plaintiff’s allegations are insufficient to state a claim for unlawful
employment discrimination. To state a prima facie case for discriminatory discipline
under Title VII a plaintiff must show that: (1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he
was qualified for the position; (3) he suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) he
was treated less favorably than a similarly‐situated individual outside his protected
See Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998) (per curiam) (“Pro se pleadings are
held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally
See Albra v. Advan, Inc., 490 F.3d 826, 832 (11th Cir., 2007) (“[T]his court has long held that individuals
are not amendable to private suit under Title VII.”).
Individual supervisors with the capacity to hire and hire or those who can recommend such decisions
can be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and Plaintiff should make clear whether he intends to bring any
such claims in his recast Complaint. See, e.g., Shotz v. City of Plantation, Fla., 344 F.3d 1161, 1176‐77 (11th
Cir. 2003) (noting that Section 1981 provides for individual liability).
To state a prima facie case for retaliation under Title VII, a plaintiff must show (1)
he participated in an activity protected by Title VII (e.g. filed or made an informal or
formal complaint of discrimination); (2) he suffered an adverse employment action; and
(3) there is a causal connection between the participation in the protected activity and
the adverse action.10
To establish a prima facie case of discrimination in the failure‐to‐promote
context, a plaintiff must show (1) he belongs to a protected class; (2) he applied for and
was qualified for a promotion; (3) he was rejected despite his qualifications; and (4)
another equally or less‐qualified employee outside his class was promoted.11
Although Plaintiff is not required to specifically plead each of the above‐
identified elements to state an adequate claim, he must “provide enough factual matter
(taken as true) to suggest intentional race discrimination.”12 Here, Plaintiff’s Complaint
fails to state a claim for relief under any of the above‐identified causes of action.
Regarding any discriminatory discipline or failure‐to‐promote claim he attempts to
Maynard v. Bd. of Regents, 342 F.2d 1281, 1289 (11th Cir. 2003).
Pipkins v. City of Temple Terrace, 267 F.3d 1197, 1201 (11th Cir. 2001).
Brown v. Ala. Dept. of Transp., 597 F.3d 1160, 1174 (11th Cir. 2010).
Davis v. Coca‐Cola Bottling Co. Consol., 516 F.3d 955, 974 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks
state, Plaintiff fails to identify the adverse employment action he suffered. Regarding
any retaliation claim, Plaintiff not only fails to state the adverse employment action he
suffered, but also the protected activity he engaged in that caused Defendant’s
Rather than dismiss his claims, however, the Court will allow Plaintiff the
opportunity to file a recast Complaint, if he wishes to do so, by explaining the specific
episodes of discrimination and/or retaliation he suffered with respect to his
employment with Defendant. Plaintiff should specifically explain how Defendant
discriminated and/or retaliated against him in violation of Title VII and what adverse
employment action he suffered as a result of Defendant’s discrimination and/or
Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed IFP [Doc. 2] is GRANTED. However, if Plaintiff
wishes to proceed on the action, he MUST submit a recast Complaint within twenty‐
one (21) days from the date of this Order. The recast Complaint must be filed in
accordance with the directives contained in this Order. If Plaintiff fails to respond
within the twenty‐one (21) days, the Court will dismiss this action with prejudice.
Upon receipt of any amended complaint, the Court will re‐evaluate the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). There will be no service of process until further order
from the Court.
SO ORDERED, this 26th day of October, 2017.
S/ C. Ashley Royal
C. ASHLEY ROYAL, SENIOR JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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