Oduze v. Wylie ISD Administrators et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE re 10 MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint and Brief in Support filed by Sherry Betts, Wylie ISD Board of Trustees, Cole McClendon, Wylie ISD Administrators, Vanessa Stua rt, Tara Shores, Jennifer Closs, Howard John Fuller. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint (Dkt.10) is GRANTED in part and Plaintiff's claims against Defendants WYLIE ISD Administrators, Cole McClendon, Sherry Betts, Van essa Stuart, Jennifer Closs, H. John Fuller, Tara Shores, and WYLIE ISD Board of Trustees are dismissed with prejudice. Within 30 days, Plaintiff may file an amended complaint naming the proper Defendant herein. Otherwise, a final order of dismissal will be entered. Signed by Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush on 3/8/2013. (kls, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
BRENDA ODUZE, et al.
WYLIE ISD ADMINISTRATORS,
COLE MCCLENDON, SHERRY BETTS,
VANESSA STUART, JENNIFER CLOSS,
H. JOHN FULLER, TARA SHORES,
and WYLIE ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Case No. 4:12cv387
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF UNITED STATES
Now before the Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint (Dkt. 10). As
set forth below, the Court finds that the motion should be GRANTED in part.
Plaintiff Brenda Oduze filed her Complaint against Defendants WYLIE ISD Administrators,
Cole McClendon, Sherry Betts, Vanessa Stuart, Jennifer Closs, H. John Fuller, Tara Shores, and
WYLIE ISD Board of Trustees in the District Court of Collin County Texas on January 23, 2012.
Defendants were served in June 2012, and removed the case to this Court on June 25, 2012. Shortly
thereafter, Defendants filed their motion to dismiss. On December 10, 2012, this case was assigned
to the undersigned by consent of the parties.
STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a party may move for
dismissal of an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P.
12(b)(6). The Court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts contained in the plaintiff’s complaint
and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th
Cir. 1996). A claim will survive an attack under Rule 12(b)(6) if it “may be supported by showing
any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 563, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1969, 167 L. Ed.2d 929 (2007). In other words, a claim may
not be dismissed based solely on a court’s supposition that the pleader is unlikely “to find evidentiary
support for his allegations or prove his claim to the satisfaction of the factfinder.” Id. at 563 n.8.
Although detailed factual allegations are not required, a plaintiff must provide the grounds
of his entitlement to relief beyond mere “labels and conclusions,” and “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. The complaint must be factually suggestive,
so as to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and into the “realm of plausible liability.”
Id. at 555, 557 n.5. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint 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. 682, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L. Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570,
127 S. Ct. 1955)). For a claim to have facial plausibility, a plaintiff must plead facts that allow the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct.
Gonzalez v. Kay, 577 F.3d 600, 603 (5th Cir. 2009).
In analyzing Plaintiff’s case under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court is tasked with determining
whether any facts are alleged that are sufficient to support a claim. In this case, Plaintiff’s live
complaint, which is less than two pages in length, does not separately list the jurisdictional grounds
or the specific causes of action she asserts but states in an introductory paragraph that she seeks to
“recover damages for employment discrimination and sexual harassment in violation of Title VII of
Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Cvil Rights Act of 1991.” Dkt. 1-2 at 1. Plaintiff has
named the following defendants: WYLIE ISD Administrators, Cole McClendon, Sherry Betts,
Vanessa Stuart, Jennifer Closs, H. John Fuller, Tara Shores, and WYLIE ISD Board of Trustees.
See Dkt. 1-2. Wylie Independent School District, Plaintiff’s employer, is not a named Defendant
in this suit.
The Court has reviewed the record before it and finds that Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state
any facts that would show how any of the Defendants qualify as employers under Title VII. See, e.g.,
Vance v. Union Planters Corp., 279 F.3d 295, 299 (5th Cir. 2002); Medina v. Ramsey Steel Co., Inc.,
238 F.3d 674, 686 (5th Cir. 2001). “[R]elief under Title VII is available only against an employer,
not an individual supervisor or fellow employee.” Foley v. Univ. of Houston Sys., 355 F.3d 333, 340
(5th Cir. 2003) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b)’s definition of “employer”); Johnson v. TCB Constr.
Co., Inc., 334 Fed. Appx. 666, 669 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting Grant v. Lone Star Co., 21 F.3d 649,
652 (5th Cir. 1994) (“[o]nly employers, not individuals acting in their individual capacity who do
not otherwise meet the definition of employers, can be liable under Title VII.” ). Plaintiff can only
assert Title VII claims against her employer and must state facts accordingly.
Plaintiff has not stated whether she is suing any of the Defendants in their individual or
official capacities. Upon the referral of this suit to the undersigned, the Court issued an Order an
Advisory allowing Plaintiff to amend her complaint to comply with federal pleading standards. See
Dkt. 11. Plaintiff did not do so. When Defendants filed their motion to dismiss identifying the
deficiencies in her complaint, Plaintiff did not amend her complaint, nor did she file a response in
opposition until the Court directed her to do so – several months after the response was originally
due. See Dkt. 14. While the response ultimately filed by Plaintiff expounds on her factual
allegations slightly, it does not sufficiently state facts as to how the named Defendants should be held
liable, and the Court declines to presume the capacity in which any of the Defendants have been
Moreover, Plaintiff has not stated any facts that would show an exhaustion of administrative
remedies as to any of the named Defendants. In the EEOC “Charge of Discrimination” attached to
Plaintiff’s Complaint, the named employer is “WYLIE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT.”
See Dkt. 1-2 at 3.
“Title VII requires employees to exhaust their administrative remedies before seeking judicial
relief.” McClain v. Lufkin Indus., Inc., 519 F.3d 264, 273 (5th Cir. 2008); see also Taylor v. Books
A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378-79 (5th Cir. 2002) (“Employment discrimination plaintiffs must
exhaust administrative remedies before pursuing claims in federal court. Exhaustion occurs when
the plaintiff files a timely charge with the EEOC and receives a statutory notice of right to sue.”).
“This requirement serves the dual purposes of affording the EEOC and the employer an opportunity
to settle the dispute through conciliation, and giving the employer some warning as to the conduct
about which the employee is aggrieved.” Hayes v. MBNA Tech., Inc., 2004 WL 1283965, at *3
(N.D. Tex. June 9, 2004) (citing Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 44, 94 S. Ct. 1011,
39 L. Ed.2d 147 (1974) and Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., 431 F.2d 455, 466 (5th Cir. 1970)).
“Courts should not condone lawsuits that exceed the scope of EEOC exhaustion, because doing so
would thwart the administrative process and peremptorily substitute litigation for conciliation.”
McClain v. Lufkin Indus., Inc., 519 F.3d 264, 273 (5th Cir. 2008). In this case, Plaintiff has not
stated facts that would show how the EEOC’s issuance of a right to sue letter for Wylie Independent
School District would permit any claims against any of the Defendants she has named. Her
Complaint is simply insufficient as to the named Defendants.
Given the paucity of Plaintiff’s allegations herein and the Fifth Circuit’s clear mandates
regarding employer liability under Title VII and the exhaustion of administrative remedies, the Court
finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against any of the named Defendants. Because Plaintiff
is pro se and afforded some leniency in this regard, however, she is granted leave to file an amended
complaint naming the proper Defendant (or Defendants) herein within 30 days of the date of this
Order. Plaintiff is also cautioned that any amended complaint shall comply with the pleadings
requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
For the reasons set forth herein, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint (Dkt.
10) is GRANTED in part and Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants WYLIE ISD Administrators,
Cole McClendon, Sherry Betts, Vanessa Stuart, Jennifer Closs, H. John Fuller, Tara Shores, and
WYLIE ISD Board of Trustees are dismissed with prejudice. Within 30 days, Plaintiff may file an
amended complaint naming the proper Defendant herein. Otherwise, a final order of dismissal will
SIGNED this 8th day of March, 2013.
DON D. BUSH
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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