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Jolita Tackett v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

October 25, 2011

JOLITA TACKETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Gregory L. Frost

Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp

OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 12), Plaintiff's Memorandum Contra to Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 17), and Defendants' Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 18). For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

I. Background

The following facts are taken from the complaint and the documents attached to the complaint.

Plaintiff Jolita Tackett is an employee of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Madison Correctional Institution ("ODRC"). Plaintiff alleges that she began being harassed at work in December 2008. Plaintiff avers that she received sexually harassing telephone calls at work that she believes were made by her co-workers. Plaintiff reported these calls but was told by her supervisor that there was no way to know who made the calls so there was nothing ODRC could do about them.

Plaintiff alleges that during roll call in front of several other co-workers she was subjected to comments from her co-workers, Corrections Officer ("C.O.") Brad Foulk, C.O. Christopher Neininger, and C.O. Melvin Williams, concerning her work ethic and ability. Further, Plaintiff claims that C.O. Foulk smacked her on her buttocks at a Wal-Mart store one evening after work.

Plaintiff submitted numerous incident reports to ODRC concerning the perceived harassment and spoke to ODRC's Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") Administrator. Plaintiff contends that none of the issues about which she complained were resolved and the harassment became worse. Plaintiff claims that she received disciplinary reprimands for minor incidents that her male co-workers did not receive for the same behavior. Plaintiff believes she was treated unfairly because she is a female.

Plaintiff took a leave of absence from her job from February 4, 2010 through April 21, 2010. Plaintiff contends that the leave of absence was necessary because of the stress caused by the workplace harassment. During the leave time, Plaintiff saw a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist.

Plaintiff alleges that she filed a complaint with the EEO Department of ODRC's Human Resources Department. The EEO Department investigated the complaint. Plaintiff alleges that during the investigation, she was told that she may have "brought these [harassing] incidents on herself and that it '. . . was something that can be expected in a male environment.' " (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 23.) The EEO Department concluded the investigation and issued a "No Probable Cause" letter indicating that there was insufficient evidence to support Plaintiff's claims. Id. ¶24.

On October 29, 2010, Plaintiff filed the instant action, naming as defendants the ODRC, C.O. Foulk, C.O. Neininger, and C.O. Williams ("Defendants"). Defendants have moved to have all claims dismissed. That motion is ripe for review.

II. Standard

Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In her memorandum in opposition, Plaintiff contends that Defendants erred in filing their motion under Rule 12(c) "and should instead have filed a Motion to Dismiss, based on the tenor and substance of arguments they submitted." (ECF No. 17 at 2.) A motion for judgment on the pleadings, however, is simply a motion to dismiss that is filed after the party has filed a responsive pleading. Here, Defendants filed their answer on April 8, 2011 (ECF No. 9), thus a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) was unavailable to them. The proper vehicle for Defendants' to request dismissal is indeed a motion under Rule 12(c).

The Court reviews motions made under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the same manner it would review a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted made under Rule 12(b)(6). Vickers v. Fairfield Med. Ctr., 453 F.3d 757, 761 (6th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, to survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (clarifying the plausibility standard articulated in Twombly). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is ...


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