Muffuletto v. Client Services, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs complaint, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., is DISMISSED as time-barred. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that to the extent that plaintiff has anyunartic ulated state law discrimination or retaliation claims against defendant, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these claims. 28 U.S.C. §1367(c). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED AS MOOT. 4 Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 12/13/12. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CLIENT SERVICES, INC.,
No. 4:12CV1982 JCH
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s response to the Order to Show
Cause.1 Having carefully reviewed plaintiff’s response, the Court concludes that her
arguments are without merit and that the instant action is time-barred under 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f).
Plaintiff brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., for alleged race and gender discrimination, as well as
retaliation. Plaintiff also alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work
environment. Plaintiff attached two right to sue letters to her complaint: one from
On November 16, 2012 this Court ordered plaintiff to show cause why her
pro se employment discrimination complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e,
et seq., should not be dismissed as time-barred.
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") dated June 18, 2012 and
one from the Missouri Commission on Human Rights ("MCHR") dated August 7,
2012. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on October 23, 2012.
A plaintiff in a Title VII action has ninety (90) days from receipt of the right
to sue letter to file a civil action. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f). Failure to file a timely
civil action warrants dismissal of the complaint. E.g., Braxton v. Bi-State
Development Agency, 728 F.2d 1105, 1108 (8th Cir. 1984).
The ninety-day period from the date of the receipt of the EEOC right to sue
letter elapsed on approximately Monday, September 17, 2012. Plaintiff did not file
her suit until approximately a month after the ninety-day period ended.2 As a result,
plaintiff’s claims brought pursuant to Title VII are time-barred unless equitable
tolling applies to her claims.
In her response to the Order to Show Cause, plaintiff asserts that she has
been trying to retain an attorney for her case because she was unsure of how to file
The ninety-day time period from the date of the receipt of the MCHR right to
sue letter elapsed on approximately Monday, November 5, 2012. Although plaintiff
has attached the MCHR right to sue to the instant complaint, there is no indication
in the complaint that she is proceeding with a discrimination or retaliation claim
under the Missouri Human Rights Act against defendant.
an action pro se. She additionally states that she was attempting to settle her claim
with defendants prior to filing a lawsuit in this Court.
In Turner v. Bowen, 862 F.2d 708 (8th Cir. 1988), the United States Court of
Appeals for the Eighth Circuit explained the kinds of circumstances that can support
the equitable tolling of the statute of limitations:
Generally, equitable circumstances that might toll a limitations period
involve conduct (by someone other than the claimant) that is
misleading or fraudulent. Smith v. McClammy, 740 F.2d 925, 927
(11th Cir.1984) (Title VII case). “Equitable tolling thus far has been
allowed only in those cases where the government has hindered a
claimant’s attempts to exercise her rights by acting in a misleading or
clandestine way.” Wong v. Bowen, 854 F.2d 630, 631 (2d Cir.1988)
(equitable tolling denied even though claimant for social security
disability benefits asserted that illness prevented her from timely filing
an action in federal district court). And this court has recognized the
principle that “ignorance of legal rights does not toll a statute of
limitations.” Larson v. American Wheel & Brake, Inc., 610 F.2d 506,
510 (8th Cir.1979).
Turner, 862 F.2d at 710; see also, Hill v. John Chezik Imports, 869 F.2d 1122,
1124 (8th Cir. 1989) (noting that courts have generally reserved the remedy of
equitable tolling for circumstances which are truly beyond the control of the plaintiff
or when the conduct of the respondent has lulled the plaintiff into inaction).
Equitable tolling, however, is an exceedingly narrow window of relief. Pro se
status, lack of legal knowledge or legal resources, confusion about or
miscalculations of the limitations period, or the failure to recognize the legal
ramifications of actions taken in prior post-conviction proceedings are inadequate to
warrant equitable tolling. Shoemate v. Norris, 390 F.3d 595, 598 (8th Cir. 2004);
Kreutzer v. Bowersox, 231 F.3d 460, 463 (8th Cir. 2000) (holding that “even in the
case of an unrepresented prisoner alleging a lack of legal knowledge or legal
resources, equitable tolling has not been warranted”); Jihad v. Hvass, 267 F.3d 803,
805-07 (8th Cir. 2001) (unsuccessful search for counsel could not warrant equitable
Under these principles, equitable tolling is not warranted in this case because
the circumstances described by plaintiff are not extraordinary, nor are they outside
of plaintiff’s control. As a result, the complaint is time-barred and will be
Moreover, to the extent that plaintiff does, indeed, have state law claims for
discrimination or retaliation against defendant, the Court will decline to exercise
jurisdiction over any such unarticulated claims.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s complaint, brought pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., is DISMISSED as time-barred. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that to the extent that plaintiff has any
unarticulated state law discrimination or retaliation claims against defendant, the
Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these claims. 28 U.S.C. §
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for appointment of
counsel is DENIED AS MOOT.
Dated this 13th day of December, 2012.
/s/Jean C. Hamilton
JEAN C. HAMILTON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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