Mitchell v. Tyson Foods, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: For the reasons set forth above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' partial motion to dismiss is GRANTED. ECF No. 9. Richard Riley (individually and in his capacity as supervisor/general manager) terminated. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 7/28/2017. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
TYSON FOODS, INC. and
Case No. 1:17-cv-00067-AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion (ECF No. 9) of Defendants Tyson
Foods, Inc. (“Tyson”) and Richard Riley (“Riley”) to dismiss Plaintiff’s employment
discrimination complaint in part, for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff has not responded to the motion, and the time to do so has
passed. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants’ motion.
Plaintiff, a former employee of Tyson, filed this lawsuit on February 16, 2017.
She asserts claims against Tyson and Riley under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., and the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”), Mo. Rev. Stat.
§ 213.010, et seq. Plaintiff’s complaint contains four counts: sex discrimination (Count
I); disability discrimination (Count II); retaliation (Count III); and constructive discharge
(Count IV). Each count references both federal and state law, and each is asserted
against both Defendants. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
In her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she filed a charge of discrimination with the
Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) and the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on March 30, 2015, and amended the charge on
April 18, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that the MCHR issued a Notice of Right to Sue on
November 16, 2016, and the EEOC issued its Notice of Right to Sue on December 27,
2016. Plaintiff attaches the administrative charges and Notices of Right to Sue as
exhibits to her complaint.
Defendants have moved to dismiss the MHRA claims against both Defendants as
untimely, having been filed more than 90 days after the MCHR issued its Notice of Right
to Sue. Defendants have also moved to dismiss the Title VII and ADA claims against
Riley only, on the ground that these federal statutes do not impose personal liability on
individuals. Defendants have not sought dismissal of the Title VII and ADA claims
To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff’s allegations
must contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The reviewing court must accept the
plaintiff’s factual allegations as true and construe them in plaintiff’s favor, but it is not
required to accept the legal conclusions the plaintiff draws from the facts alleged. Id. at
678; Retro Television Network, Inc. v. Luken Commc’ns, LLC, 696 F.3d 766, 768-69 (8th
The MHRA provides that “[a]ny action brought in court under this section shall be
filed within ninety days from the date of the commission’s notification letter to the
individual but no later than two years after the alleged cause occurred or its reasonable
discovery by the alleged injured party.” Mo. Rev. Stat § 213.111.1; see also State, ex rel.
Martin–Erb v. Mo. Comm’n on Human Rights, 77 S.W.3d 600, 604 (Mo. 2002) (“The
complainant must file any civil action against the person or entity allegedly committing
the discrimination within 90 days of the date of the MCHR’s letter . . . .”). Plaintiff did
not file suit until February 16, 2017, 92 days after the date of the MCHR’s Notice of
Right to Sue, and she has not provided any explanation for the delay. Her MHRA claims
against both Defendants must be dismissed as untimely. See Favaloro v. BJC
Healthcare, No. 4:14-CV-284 CAS, 2015 WL 6531867, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 28, 2015)
(dismissing MHRA claim as untimely because it was filed 125 days after the date of the
MCHR’s notice of right to sue); Hammond v. Mun. Correction Inst., 117 S.W.3d 130,
138 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003) (“Statutes of limitations contained in the Missouri Human
Rights Act have been strictly construed.”).
Defendants are also correct that “[i]t is well settled that Title VII provides for
claims only against an individual’s ‘employer’ and that individual coworkers, supervisors
and managers are not employers under the statute.” Robinson v. N. Am. Sch. Bus, No.
4:16 CV 1576 RWS, 2017 WL 1477143, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 24, 2017); see also Roark
v. City of Hazen, Ark., 189 F.3d 758, 761 (8th Cir. 1999) (“[A] supervisor may not be
held liable under Title VII.”). Likewise, “[a]lthough the Eighth Circuit has not addressed
whether individuals may be liable under Title I of the ADA, this Court has stated its
belief that the Eighth Circuit would determine that suits may not be brought against
individual defendants under the ADA.” Favaloro, 2015 WL 6531867, at *4 (collecting
cases). Therefore, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s Title VII and ADA claims against
For the reasons set forth above,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants’ partial motion to dismiss is
GRANTED. ECF No. 9.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 28th day of July, 2017.
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