Gean v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
ORDER granting 43 Motion to Dismiss ; affirming 48 Memorandum and Recommendations. Plaintiffs Amended Complaint re: 41 is dismissed without prejudice and the Clerk of Court is directed to close this case. Signed by District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr on 8/8/2017. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(eef)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:15-CV-00275-RJC-DCK
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 43), and the related pleadings; the Magistrate Judge’s
Memorandum and Recommendation (“M&R”), (Doc. No. 48); Plaintiff’s objections, responses
and letters related to the Magistrate Judge’s M&R, (Doc. Nos. 49, 50, 53–56); and Defendant’s
Reply to Plaintiff’s Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s M&R, (Doc. No. 52).
Pro se Plaintiff filed several objections, responses, and letters related to the Magistrate
Judge’s M&R (Doc. Nos. 49, 50, 53–56). As part of these filings, Plaintiff continues to assert she
has submitted all required documents and proof of discrimination against her, and further requests
the Court review all relevant facts and evidence presented by Plaintiff. See (Doc. Nos. 49, 55).
Nevertheless, after a close review of Plaintiff’s contentions, the Court adopts the factual and
procedural background as set forth in the M&R.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A district court may assign dispositive pretrial matters, including motions to dismiss, to a
magistrate judge for “proposed findings of fact and recommendations.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A)
and (B). The Federal Magistrate Act provides that “a district court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specific proposed findings or recommendations to
which objection is made.” Id. at § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); Camby v. Davis, 718
F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). De novo review is not required by the statute when an objecting
party makes only general or conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in
the magistrate judge’s recommendations. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44 (4th Cir. 1982).
Further, the statute does not on its face require any review at all of issues that are not the subject
of an objection. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985); Camby, 178 F.2d at 200. Nonetheless,
a district judge is responsible for the final determination and outcome of the case, and accordingly
this Court has conducted a careful review of the Magistrate Judge’s M&R.
The existence of subject matter jurisdiction is a threshold issue the court must address
before considering the merits of the case. Jones v. Am. Postal Workers Union, 192 F.3d 417, 422
(4th Cir. 1999). Plaintiff has the burden of proving that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over this lawsuit. See Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d
765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). Where, as here, a defendant challenges subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), “the district court is to regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the
issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one
for summary judgment.” Id. Therefore, the district court should grant the Rule 12(b)(1) motion to
dismiss “only if the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled
to prevail as a matter of law.” Id.
While considering Defendant’s Motion, the Court remains mindful of Plaintiff’s pro se
status and that pro se filings are to be liberally construed and must be held to “less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)
Under Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a district court judge shall make
a de novo determination of any portion of an M&R to which a specific written objection has been
made. A party’s failure to make a timely objection is accepted as an agreement with the
conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149–50 (1985). Here,
while Plaintiff has objected to the M&R in form, Plaintiff has failed to directly and specifically
respond to the M&R. See (Doc. Nos. 49, 50, 53–56). Plaintiff simply and repeatedly requests the
Court to reconsider and rule in her favor. See (Doc. Nos. 49, 50, 53–56). This Court has conducted
a full and de novo review of the M&R and other documents of record and, having done so, hereby
adopts the M&R and grants Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.
This Court agrees with both the Defendant and the Magistrate Judge that subject matter
jurisdiction is lacking in this case. A court lacks subject matter jurisdiction if the plaintiff’s claim
following the filing of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge is outside the scope
of said charge. Jones v. Calvert Grp., Ltd., 551 F.3d 297, 300 (4th Cir. 2009) (noting the scope of
a plaintiff’s right to file a federal lawsuit is determined by the charge, which must be sufficiently
precise to describe generally the actions or practices of which are complained).
Throughout the two-plus years this case has dragged on, this Court has repeatedly
requested valid copies of a Notice of Right to Sue and a Charge of Discrimination within the scope
of Plaintiff’s claims in this suit. (Doc. Nos. 17, 40). Despite Plaintiff’s four different opportunities
to do so, (Doc. Nos. 16, 18, 21, 41), Plaintiff’s latest Amended Complaint yet again fails to satisfy
the Court’s request. (Doc. No. 41). Instead, Plaintiff continues to make broad requests for a trial
by jury, that this Court review all facts and evidence submitted throughout this case, and that this
Court add negligence claims against the Defendant. (Doc. Nos. 49, 50, 53, 56). The Court has been
lenient with Plaintiff and given her more than ample opportunities to remedy deficiencies in her
complaints. Yet, the same results continue—inadequate complaints and requests for further
amendment and greater leniency.
Even if this court, like the Magistrate Judge, liberally construes pro se Plaintiff’s most
recent Amended Complaint as incorporating by reference her previously filed Charge and Notice
of Right to Sue No. 430-2015-00995, (Doc. No. 8-1), the Charge is still outside the scope of
Plaintiff’s claims in this suit. (Doc. No. 41). Plaintiff’s Charge No. 430-2015-00995 is based on
alleged retaliation for a previously filed EEOC charge in 2013. (Doc. No. 8-1). The most recent
Amended Complaint, on the other hand, includes little, if any, factual support for Plaintiff’s claims,
and asserts that this Court has jurisdiction based on “the Civil Rights Act, the American
Disabilities Act of 2008 . . . and The Age Discrimination Act.” (Doc. No. 41). Because the
allegations here are outside the scope of the Charge and Notice of Right to Sue, this Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
1. The Magistrate Judge’s M&R, (Doc. No. 48), is ADOPTED;
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. No. 43), is GRANTED;
3. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 41), is DISMISSED without prejudice;
4. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
Signed: August 8, 2017
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