Dallas v. Platinum Health Care, LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 7 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) [Doc. #7] is denied.. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 12/15/14. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
PLATINUM HEALTH CARE, LLC,
Case No. 4:14-CV-1377 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s
complaint for failure to state a claim for relief, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
Plaintiff has filed a response, and the issues are fully briefed.
Plaintiff filed the instant action against defendant in the Circuit Court of
discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 213.055.
Prior to the commencement of this action, plaintiff filed charges of discrimination
against defendant with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and
the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR).
She subsequently received
notices of her right to sue from both agencies.
Plaintiff’s right to sue notice from the MCHR was dated March 31, 2014.
Under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), a plaintiff has 90 days from the
issuance of such notice to file suit. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 213.111(1). Because 90 days
from March 31st was June 29, 2014, a Sunday, plaintiff’s deadline to file suit was
Monday, June 30, 2014.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(1)(C).
On June 30th, plaintiff
filed her petition in state court electronically, along with her MCHR and EEOC right
to sue letters, civil information sheet, and filing fee. However, on July 1, 2014, the
lawsuit and filing fee were rejected and returned electronically to plaintiff because
the filing contained missing or incorrect identification information for the defendant.
Plaintiff promptly submitted a corrected filing.
On July 2, 2014, the petition was
again returned to plaintiff because a new filing fee was missing for the
resubmission. Plaintiff promptly submitted the fee, and the petition was formally
accepted by the court on July 2, 2014.
Defendant argues that because the recorded filing date of plaintiff’s petition
was July 2, 2014, two days after the deadline for filing suit under the MHRA, the
complaint was untimely and should be dismissed. Plaintiff contends that the statute
of limitations should be equitably tolled and her complaint deemed timely filed.
Statutes of limitations are subject to equitable tolling, a doctrine that “pauses the
running of, or ‘tolls,’ a statute of limitations when a litigant has pursued [her] rights
diligently but some extraordinary circumstance prevents [her] from bringing a
timely action.” Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez, 134 S. Ct. 1224, 1231-32 (U.S. 2014).
Two elements, thus, must be met for equitable tolling to apply: (1) the plaintiff has
pursued her rights diligently, and (2) some extraordinary circumstance stood in her
way. Firstcom, Inc. v. Qwest Corp., 555 F.3d 669, 675 (8th Cir. 2009).
As a general rule, the extraordinary circumstance must be beyond the control
of the plaintiff. Shempert v. Harwick Chemical Corp., 151 F.3d 793, 798 (8th Cir.
1998). One such instance is when “the court has led the plaintiff to believe that he
or she has done everything required of him or her.” Id. Here, plaintiff attempted
to electronically file her petition in state court on June 30th, the date of the
deadline. She was notified by an autogenerated response that she would “receive
notice from the court when the filing is either accepted, on hold or rejected with the
reason for the hold or rejection.”
E-mail from Missouri Courts eFiling System to
Marty Perron, Counsel for Pamela Dallas (June 30, 2014, 03:58 P.M. CST) [Doc.
#9-1]. The filing was not returned to plaintiff until July 1, 2014. As such, plaintiff
did not receive notice that her suit would be rejected until after the deadline. She
had no basis to correct the original, timely filed petition before the deadline had
The additional one-day delay was caused by the failure of plaintiff’s
counsel to realize that the filing fee was automatically returned when the petition
This constitutes a technical circumstance beyond the control of
plaintiff, despite her diligent attempts to timely file suit. Therefore, equitable tolling
of the 90-day statute of limitations is appropriate, and plaintiff’s suit is deemed
For the reasons set forth above,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) [Doc. #7] is denied.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 15th day of December, 2014.
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