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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

October 18, 2017

Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, Plaintiff,
v.
R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Susan J. Dlott, United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11). The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”) has sued Defendants R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC and R&L Carriers, Inc. for employment discrimination in violation of Title VII. (Doc. 1.) Defendants move for dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons that follow, the Court ORDERS the EEOC to file an amended complaint within fourteen days of the date of this Order and DENIES AS MOOT the Motion to Dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The EEOC filed its Complaint on August 2, 2017 against Defendants “to correct unlawful employment practices based on sex and to provide relief to a class of female applicants and deterred female applicants who were adversely affected by such practices.” (Doc. 1 at PageID 1.) The sole factual allegation of wrongdoing is as follows:

13. Since at least January 1, 2010, Defendants have engaged in unlawful employment practices at their Wilmington, Ohio, location in violation of Section 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)-2(a) [sic].[1] These practices include, but are not limited to, refusing to hire women as dockworkers or loaders.

(Id. at PageID 3.) The EEOC seeks injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. (Id. at PageID 4-5.)

         Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that the EEOC has failed to state a plausible claim for relief. The EEOC responds that its pleading is sufficient, but it requests leave to amend the Complaint if the Court determines it is insufficient. (Doc. 14 at PageID 66-67.) The EEOC did not file a proposed amended pleading. The matter is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.

         II. STANDARDS OF LAW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Rule 8(a)).

         A complaint must include sufficient facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face and not speculative. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Mere “labels and conclusions [or] a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A complaint must contain “either direct or inferential allegations respecting all material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.” DiGeronimo Aggregates, LLC v. Zemla, 763 F.3d 506, 509 (6th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). However, it “does not need detailed factual allegations” or “heightened fact pleading of specifics.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A district court examining the sufficiency of a complaint must accept well-pleaded facts as true, but not legal conclusions or legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; DiGeronimo Aggregates, 763 F.3d at 509.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) allows a party to amend its pleading with the leave of the Court. A district court “should freely grant leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). However, “a party must act with due diligence if it intends to take advantage of the Rule's liberality.” U.S. v. Midwest Suspension & Brake, 49 F.3d 1197, 1202 (6th Cir. 1995). In determining whether justice requires leave to amend, a district court can consider whether allowing the amendment will result in undue prejudice to the opposing party and whether the moving party has exhibited undue delay, bad faith, or a dilatory motive. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). A party seeking leave to amend should file a separate motion and attach a proposed amended pleading. See, e.g., C&L Ward Bros., Co. v. Outsource Solutions, Inc., 547 Fed.Appx. 741, 745 (6th Cir. 2013) (“A properly filed motion for leave complete with an indication of the grounds upon which the amendment is sought and the general contents of the amendment is preferable.”); Begala v. PNC Bank, Ohio, Nat'l Ass'n, 214 F.3d 776, 784 (6th Cir. 2000) (finding the district court did not err in denying leave to amend to plaintiffs who informally requested leave to amend in a memorandum in opposition to a dismissal motion).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants argue that the Complaint does not contain sufficient factual allegations to raise the right to relief above the speculative level to the required plausibility level. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. They point out that a sister district court within the Sixth Circuit dismissed an EEOC complaint as insufficient containing this similar single factual allegation:

7. On or about September 14, 2009, Defendant Employer engaged in an unlawful employment practice in violation of Section 701 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e-2(a)(1), by discriminating against Lamond- Broughton on the basis of her sex by refusing to hire her as ...

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