Rice v. James

Filing 22

ORDER finding as moot 5 Motion to Dismiss; Finding as moot 6 Motion for More Definite Statement; Granting 18 Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. Signed by Chief Judge J. Randal Hall on 10/05/2017. (jlh)

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IN THE UNITED FOR THE STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA AUGUSTA DIVISION ANGELA RICE, * Plaintiff, * * v. * HARRY B. JAMES III, CV 117-039 * Individually and in his Official * Capacity as Judge of Richmond * County Probate Court, and * AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, * Defendants. * ORDER This case is brought under 42 U.S.C § 1983 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of Plaintiff Angela 1964 Rice's ("Title VII") dismissal Richmond County Probate Court. to amend jointly James") her complaint employed Rice moves include Defendants employment the the Court for leave allegations Harry with B. that James she III was ("Judge and the City of Augusta; to explain that her 42 U.S.C. 1981 claim will be racial by to from and revolves around enforced through § 1983; discrimination and retaliation facts that will support her § 1983 to distinguish her claims; claim.1 § and (Doc. to include 18, 1-2.) Judge James opposes this motion and claims it is futile since 1 Judge James has filed a motion for a more definite statement, which is presently before the Court. (Doc. 6.) the amended (Doc. 20-1, complaint 1). would still be subject to dismissal.2 This Court finds that some of Rice's claims are viable and therefore leave to amend should be granted. Amendments Federal should Civ. to Rules of pleadings Civil "freely give P. 15(a)(2). for undue delay, App'x 531, 538 are governed Procedure, which leave when justice so However, fairness, (11th Cir. the Court or futility. 2010) . has by Rule states power did not Judge comply James with complains Rule 4 of of that requires." to An amendment is the courts Fed. deny Chen v. Lester, the complaint would still be subject to dismissal. First, 15 R. leave 364 F. futile when Id. that the process the Federal Rice Rules of served Civil Procedure and therefore an amended claim would still be subject to dismissal. Apparently, Rice served Judge James with the City of Augusta's summons and made the same mistake when she served the City. However, liberally construed Rule 4 "is a flexible rule that should be so long as a party receives sufficient notice of the complaint." Sanderford v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., (11th 902 F.2d 897, 900 Cir. 1990). The Court discretion to extend the deadline for service of process. R. Civ. P. 4 (m) . This option is even available plaintiff has not shown good cause for her mistake. when has Fed. the Horenkamp 2 Judge James has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which is presently before the Court. (Doc. 5.) v. Van Winkle Relief & would be Co., 402 F.3d appropriate, 1129, for 1132-33 example, (11th when Cir. the 2005). statute of limitations would prevent the plaintiff from refiling her claim. Id. More than right-to-sue 18 0 letter days and would be time-barred. Rice is directed to have passed therefore her See 42 U.S.C. amend the since Rice refiled received Title 2000e-5(e). summons in this VII her claim Accordingly, case and serve them upon the appropriate defendant with the amended complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. Second, P. Judge untimely because receiving her 2000e-5(f). (11th Cir. 4(a)(2). James it was right-to-sue Green v. 2002) . If asserts not that filed letter, as within complaint ninety required by Union Foundry Co., the date of Rice's days 42 is of U.S.C. 281 F.3d 1229, receipt is § 1233-34 in question, the Eleventh Circuit presumes that a right-to-sue letter is received within three days after it is mailed. Financial Rice's attaches Corp., 179 opposition the to envelope F.3d 1337, Judge of her 1342 James's Zillyette v. (11th motion right-to-sue claims is postmarked January 4, 2017.3 Cir. to Capital One 1999). In dismiss, she letter, which she (Doc. 9, Exhibit 2). If 3 The Court may look beyond the face of the complaint without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment if the fact is central to the plaintiff's claim and is undisputed. Horsley v. Feldt, 304 F.3d 1125, 1134 (11th Cir. 2002) . Courts routinely do this with EEOC documents. See Rogers v. Shinseki, No. 112-CV-194, 2014 WL 1093147, at *4, n.9 (S.D. Ga. 2014); Perrymond v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. 1:09-CV-1936-TWT-AJB, 2010 WL 987218, at *6 (N.D. Ga. 2010), adopted in relevant part by 2010 WL 925178. this is true, 2017, the presumed date of delivery would be January 7, and Rice's complaint would be timely. Rice proposes Third, to amend her complaint James's office is covered by Title VII. VII, to show Judge To be subject to Title an entity must employ at least fifteen people. 2000e(b). To meet this requirement, 42 U.S.C. § Rice argues that the City of Augusta and Judge James should be considered joint employers. To determine a single two state or local the classified as separate under v. City aggregated. Lyles 1344 (11th Cir. Court entities employer, entities 1332, if starts of 1999) . overcome this presumption. with the state Riviera However, First, should be presumption law Beach, there treated as that should not Fla., are two 166 be F.3d ways to the plaintiff proves that the purpose in maintaining separate entities is to elude Title VII. Second, the presumption of separateness is clearly outweighed by factors indicating the two entities are so closely related that they should be counted together. method, Under the second the court considers factors such as the ability to hire, transfer, direct Id. at 1345. discipline, or work assignments; discharge; and the train. Id. factual question and may not dismiss. Whether either of Id. Thus, the obligation these be Court create work will or to pay or duty to standards resolved schedules has been met is a through a motion to allow Rice's proposed amendments to her Title VII complaints against Judge James in his official capacity and against the City of Augusta. Fourth, James in Rice proposes to add a § 1983 his individual capacity for claim against Judge unlawful discrimination. Judge James believes this claim is barred by qualified immunity, and therefore the amendment is futile. When a plaintiff brings a complaint against a local government officer in his individual capacity, the immunity. However, officer Harlow if established, the v. may raise a Fitzgerald, 457 constitutional qualified defense U.S. right immunity does based on qualified 800, 817 (1982). violated was clearly not apply. Id. Clearly established laws are those set by precedent of the United States Supreme Court, the Court. Snider v. 1328 (11th Cir. Eleventh Jefferson 2003). Circuit, State and Cmty. the Georgia Coll., 344 F.3d 813 Sherriff of (11th Cir. 1325, The case does not need to be directly on point and only needs to give the defendant fair notice. v. Supreme the Broward Sheriff's Office, 684 F. Mitello App'x 809, 2017). Judge James contends that Rice has not alleged a violation of the a clearly established right. victim of intentional racial However, Rice claims discrimination. The she was Eleventh Circuit has repeatedly held that the right to be free from race discrimination in public employment is clearly established. Boggle v. McClure, Alexander v. 2000), 13 04 overruled that F.3d Fulton County, (11th Cir. point 332 on other 2003) . Judge 1347, Ga., 1355 (11th 207 F.3d 1303, grounds by Manders Cir. 1321 v. 2003); (11th Cir. Lee, 338 F.3d Since the Court cannot conclude at this James is protected by qualified immunity, Rice's claim may be amended.4 Rice also retaliation wishes against to Judge allege James a § in However, a his unlike racial discrimination, is 1983 not clearly Amendment. Cir. established Jolivette v. Arrowood, 2006) . The Court therefore claim of unlawful individual capacity. freedom from retaliation right under the 18 0 F. App'x 883, finds Rice cannot Fourteenth 887 (11th amend her complaint to add such a claim. Finally, Rice wishes to add a § 1983 claim against the City of Augusta. Rice claims the City ignored its Equal Employment Opportunity where (EEO) police policy. officers discriminatory conduct Rice points to two other occasions made complaints and argues failing to address his behavior. be liable for its failure to that about the Judge City is Under § 1983, supervise if it James's liable for the City might tacitly approved the conduct or was deliberately indifferent and this led to the plaintiff's injuries. Cannon v. Taylor, 782 F.2d 947, 951 (11th 4 Likewise, Rice may include her hostile work environment claim. v. Jones, 575 F.3d 1281, 1300 (11th Cir. 2009). See Bryant Cir. 1986). If Rice proves the City knew about the two previous claims and those claims formed a flagrant, violations, it might be liable. 1325, (11th Cir. 1335 2013) . persistent pattern of Goodman v. Therefore, Kimbrough, Rice may 718 F.3d include her proposed § 1983 claim against the City of Augusta. Therefore, upon consideration, File an Amended Complaint (doc. Rice's 18-1) Motion for Leave is hereby GRANTED. to Rice shall file an amended complaint within fourteen (14) days hereof in conformity with this order. The amended complaint supersede the original complaint in its entirety. Defendant's motion and motion for a MOOT. This does to more dismiss definite not the original statement Accordingly, complaint (doc. prejudice Defendant's 5) will (doc. 5) are DENIED AS ability to file a motion to dismiss the amended complaint if appropriate. ORDER October, ENTERED at Augusta, Georgia this ^ day of 2017. :hief JUDGE UNITED SPATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2RN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

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