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Anderson v. Hamilton County Board of Commissioners

September 20, 2006

JERMAIN ANDERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAMILTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra S. Beckwith, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER

Before the Court are Plaintiff's Objections (Doc. 20) to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Doc. 18). The Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' motion to dismiss be granted, and that Plaintiff's motion for an "Order of Relief" (Doc. 23) be denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed her pro se Title VII complaint against the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, the County's Job & Family Services Department, and several individual County employees. Plaintiff alleged she was discriminated against because of her race and disability, and that she was retaliated against by her supervisors after she complained about the discriminatory treatment. She alleges that she requested and was denied a transfer to another location, away from her supervisor. She also alleges that she was on medical leave from May 10, 2004 through the date of filing her complaint.

Plaintiff's OCRC/EEOC charge, dated May 27, 2004 and attached to her complaint in this case, states she was subjected to harassment and a hostile working environment on account of her race. It does not mention any disability Plaintiff has, or any discrimination against her based upon any disability.

The EEOC issued and mailed to Plaintiff a right to sue letter on December 9, 2004. The face of that notice clearly told Plaintiff that she could file a lawsuit based on her OCRC/EEOC charge "WITHIN 90 DAYS of your receipt of this Notice." (emphasis in original) Plaintiff's complaint alleges that she received the right to sue letter on February 20, 2005, almost two and a half months after the letter was mailed to her. Plaintiff's complaint in this case was filed on May 18, 2005.

Defendants filed a multi-pronged Rule 12 motion to dismiss (Doc. 19). They argue that Plaintiff's disability claim is barred because Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies. Defendants also assert that Plaintiff's racial discrimination and retaliation claims should be dismissed because Plaintiff's complaint was not timely filed within the 90-day statutory period permitted under Title VII. In addition, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not adequately alleged a prima facie case of discrimination.

Plaintiff responded to Defendants' motion with a document that resembles an amended complaint. (Doc. 20) Plaintiff did not seek leave to file this pleading, and the deadline for amending her complaint expired on November 14, 2005 pursuant to the Court's Scheduling Order. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint as untimely. (Doc. 22)

Construing the Plaintiff's pleading as an opposition to Defendant's motion, Plaintiff recites additional factual allegations concerning her discrimination and retaliation claims. For example, she asserts that one of her supervisors thought that "all African American families and the Plaintiff" were not trustworthy. (See §22) She also asserts that an African American male co-worker was treated more favorably than she was on a paperwork issue, an allegation suggesting gender, not racial, discrimination. (See §§25-27) There is no mention of gender discrimination in Plaintiff's OCRC charge or in her complaint. She also asserts that she has been on medical leave since May 10, 2004 and has not been reinstated, despite her ability to return to work in some capacity. (See §§42-45)

In regard to the timeliness of her complaint in this case, Plaintiff states that she . . . filed a complaint with the EEOC who goes by the actual date the Plaintiff received notice in which to file and granted the Plaintiff the Right to Sue letter based on the fact that the Plaintiff's Complaint was filed in a timely manner. (See Doc. 20, §71) While the meaning of this sentence is not entirely clear, Plaintiff seems to suggest that she timely filed her OCRC/EEOC charge (which is apparently not in dispute), and that her right to sue letter was granted because her administrative charge was timely filed. This statement does not address the timeliness of her complaint in this case.

Plaintiff also filed a "Motion for Order of Relief" (Doc. 23), essentially summarizing her alleged losses, and requesting a judgment of $6 million.

DISCUSSION

1. Standard of Review

The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is to allow a defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to legal relief if all the facts and allegations in the complaint are taken as true. See Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993) (citing Nishiyama v. Dickson County, 814 F.2d 277, 279 (6th Cir. 1987)). The complaint must be construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and its allegations taken as true. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232 (1974); Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995). To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "a . . . complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988)(citations and internal quotation marks omitted). The test for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), however, is a stringent one. "[A] complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. ...


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