United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HONORABLE SARA LIOI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se plaintiff, Keely Jones (“Jones”), brings
this action against defendant, Summit County Job and Family
Services (“SCJFS”), alleging age discrimination
in employment and retaliation. (Doc. No. 1
[“Compl.”].) Jones moves to proceed with this
action in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2), and that
motion is granted.
reasons that follow, this case is dismissed.
allegations in the complaint are sparse, but this action
appears to stem from SCJFS failing to hire Jones.
Specifically, Jones alleges that on February 9, 2018, she
applied for a job, and SCJFS unlawfully discriminated and
retaliated against her by failing to hire her. (Compl. at
While the complaint itself includes few facts to support her
claims, Jones attached various documents to her pleading
which the Court will consider in determining whether Jones
states a plausible claim for relief. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 10(c).
appears that Jones was previously employed by SCJFS as a Case
Management Specialist 1. (Doc. No. 1-5.) It is unclear when,
and under what circumstances, Jones ceased working for SCJFS.
But on February 9, 2018, Jones applied for a Temporary PT
(presumably part time) Case Management Specialist position
with SCJFS. (Doc. No. 1-3.) SCJFS considered Jones's
application but ultimately selected candidates whose
qualification more closely matched the requirements of the
position. (Doc. No. 1-4.) On August 14, 2018, Jones filed a
Charge of Discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights
Commission alleging age discrimination and retaliation. (Doc.
No. 1-1.) On August 5, 2019, Jones received a right to sue
letter from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
(Doc. No. 1-11.) Jones filed the instant action on August 16,
2019. (See Compl. at 1.)
Standard of Review
se pleadings are held to “less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers” and must be
liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972); see also
Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 85 (6th Cir. 1985)
(pro se complaints are entitled to liberal
construction) (citations omitted). Nevertheless, courts are
not required to conjure unpleaded facts or construct claims
on plaintiff's behalf. See Kamppi v. Ghee, 208
F.3d 213 (table), 2000 WL 303018, at *1 (6th Cir. Mar. 14,
2000); Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274,
1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
district courts are expressly required, under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B), to review all in forma
pauperis complaints filed in federal court and to
dismiss before service any such complaint that the court
determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470 (6th Cir. 2010). The
standard for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) also applies to
dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. at 470-71
(holding that the dismissal standard articulated in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929
(2007) governs dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)).
Therefore, to survive dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B),
Jones's complaint must set forth sufficient facts to
state a plausible claim for relief. See Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678.
construing Jones's claims liberally, in the light most
favorable to her, Jones has failed to state a plausible claim
for relief. Under the ADEA, employers are not permitted to
“refuse to hire or to discharge” an individual
because of that person's age. 29 U.S.C. § 623
(a)(1). Where, as here, there is no direct evidence of age
discrimination, courts apply the burden-shifting framework
set out in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411
U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973). Under
McDonnel Douglas, plaintiffs must establish the
elements of a prima facie case of age discrimination. The
plaintiff must show “(1) she was over the age of 40,
(2) she applied for and was qualified for the position, (3)
she was considered for and denied the position, and (4) she
was rejected in favor of a significantly younger person with
similar or inferior qualifications to permit an inference of
age discrimination.” George v. Youngstown State
Univ., 4:17CV2322, 2019 WL 118601, at *7 (N.D. Ohio Jan.
7, 2019) (citing Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prod.,
Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 142, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105
(2000); Betkerur v. Aultmen Hosp. Ass'n, 78 F.3d
1079, 1095 (6th Cir. 1996)). The ADEA does not allow
mixed-motive discrimination claims; plaintiff must show
“that an employer took adverse action ‘because of
age....” Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 557
U.S. 167, 176, 129 S.Ct. 2343, 174 L.Ed.2d 119 (2009).
sure, Jones was not required to plead specific facts
establishing a prima facie case of discrimination or
retaliation to survive dismissal. See Swierkiewicz v.
Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508, 122 S.Ct. 992, 152
L.Ed.2d 1 (2002). But she was required to meet the pleading
standards articulated in Twombly and Iqbal;
and she failed to do so. Jones's complaint provides no
direct evidence of discrimination and the circumstantial
evidence that the Court was able to piece together, does not
meet basic pleading requirements. Jones's statement of
her case simply states, “I filed a federal lawsuit 5:19
CV 169 against [SCJFS] January 23, 2019, for age
discrimination.” (Compl. at 4-5.) The complaint does
not indicate who was hired for the position to which Jones
applied, whether the newly-hired employee was younger than
Jones, and what qualifications that employee
facts supporting Jones's retaliation claim are even more
scant than those supporting her age discrimination claim. It
appears that Jones has filed at least one previous lawsuit
against SCJFS alleging age discrimination and failure to
hire. See Jones v. Summit Co. Job & Family
Servs., No. 5:19CV169, 2019 WL 4141601, at *1 (N.D. Ohio
Aug. 30, 2019), appeal docketed, No. 19-3916 (6th
Cir. Sept. 26, 2019). However, the complaint is entirely
devoid of facts related to Jones's previous lawsuit
against SCJFS. Aside from her naked assertion, Jones does not
even attempt to tie her failure to hire claim to the fact
that she previously filed a lawsuit against SCJFS. Even
liberally construed, Jones's complaint fails to set forth
sufficient facts to meet basic pleading requirements or
support plausible claims of age ...