United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
GERALD N. JONES, SR., Plaintiff,
CITY OF CLEVELAND, Defendant.
C. NUGENT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Se Plaintiff Gerald N. Jones, Sr. ("Mr. Jones"
or "Plaintiff') filed this action against Defendant
City of Cleveland ("the City") in connection with
his employment at the Cleveland Police Department ("the
Department"). Mr. Jones was hired as a Data Conversion
Operator on January 22, 2013, and worked at the Department.
Plaintiff was terminated on April 26, 2016 (Docket #1-4 at
6), for the allegedly false reason that he may have been
armed and was trying to arrest officers (Docket #1 at 6).
Complaint describes various interactions and incidents with
supervisors and other Department employees that Mr. Jones
alleges constitute race, color, and sex discrimination and
retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 (29 U.S.C. §§ 2OOOe to 2OOOe-17)
("Title VII"), and disability discrimination in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42
U.S.C. §§ 12112 to 12117) ("ADA"). For
his state law claims, Plaintiff alleges violations of Ohio
Rev. Code §§ 4117.10(A)(1)(a) and 4117.11(A)(1),
(A)(5). (See Id. at 3, 5.) Mr. Jones also claims
"Simple Assault; Aggravated Menacing with an Improvised
Weapon; [and] Intimidation" (id. at 4).
alleged discrimination took the form of unequal terms and
conditions of employment, termination, and retaliation
(id. at 4). Mr. Jones seeks $700, 000.00 in damages
for loss of his civil service career, $12, 000.00 in
reimbursement for funds he was required to draw upon from his
pension for living expenses after he was terminated, and
$1.00 for being humiliated, terrorized, treated like an
"adversary," and falsely accused of "having a
firearm" and "attempting to arrest officers"
(id. at 7).
Jones filed a Motion to proceed with this action in forma
pauperis (Docket #2); that Motion is granted.
Standard of Review
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982), federal
district courts are expressly required under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) to screen all in forma pauperis
actions and to dismiss before service any such action that
the Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. In order to survive scrutiny under §
1915(e)(2)(B), a pro se complaint must set forth
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state claim
to relief that is plausible on its face. See Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 471 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that
the dismissal standard articulated in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) governs dismissals under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)). The factual allegations in
the pleading "must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level... on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true[.]"
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted).
the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a
"'probability requirement, '... it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'-that the pleader is
entitled to relief." Id. at 679.
Complaint refers to, and attaches, documents related to two
charges of discrimination that Mr. Jones filed with the Ohio
Civil Rights Commission ("OCRC"). (See
Docket #1 at 6; Docket #1-4). "A copy of a written
instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is part of the
pleading for all purposes." Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c). The
Court will, therefore, consider those documents when
assessing the sufficiency of Mr. Jones' claims.
Campbell v. Nationstar Mortg., 611 Fed.Appx. 288,
292 (6th Cir. 2015) ("The federal rules treat [exhibits
attached to the complaint] as part of the pleadings.").
Title VII Claims
Jones claims that "[f]or a time, my job was
wonderful." (Docket #1 at 6.) He alleges that "[m]y
problems began when I stood my ground and asked police
personnel - and their relatives to not hit me; grab me; call
me names (Geraldine); or intimidate me. I was perceived as a
'rat' - and so, police personnel took it upon
themselves to try to get rid of me in order to 'make the
department better.'" (Id.) The allegations
in the Complaint and first OCRC charge state that he was
"terrorized" by police officers who erroneously
perceived that Plaintiff was "some type of ...