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Bergsieker v. McDonald's Corporation

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 30, 2015

McDONALD'S CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.


RONNIE L. WHITE, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant McVean and Ruffin's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7) and Plaintiffs Motion for Remand (ECF No. 13). These matters are legally intertwined, are fully briefed, and ready for disposition.


Removal statutes are strictly construed, and any doubts about the correctness of removal are resolved in favor of state court jurisdiction and remand. See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941); In re Bus. Men's Assurance Co. ofAm., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th Cir. 1993); Manning v. Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc., 304 F.Supp.2d 1146, 1148 (E.D. Mo. 2004) (citing Transit Cas. Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, 119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir. 1997)). The party seeking removal and opposing remand has the burden of establishing jurisdiction. Cent. Iowa Power Coop. v. Midwest Indep. Transmission Sys. Operator, 561 F.3d 904, 912 (8th Cir. 2009); City of Univ. City, Missouri v. AT & T Wireless Services, Inc., 229 F.Supp.2d 927, 929 (E.D. Mo. 2002).

A civil action brought in state court may be removed to the proper district court if the district court has original jurisdiction of the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal district courts have original jurisdiction in all civil actions between citizens of different states if the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00, exclusive of interest and costs. Manning, 304 F.Supp.2d at 1148 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(l)).


In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the allegations in the Complaint liberally in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp., 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Luney v. SGS Auto Servs., 432 F.3d 866, 867 (8th Cir. 2005)). Additionally, the Court "must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Coons v. Mineta, 410 F.3d 1036, 1039 (8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (abrogating the "no set of facts" standard for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiffs obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Huang v. Gateway Hotel Holdings, 520 F.Supp.2d 1137, 1140 (E.D. Mo. 2007).


Terry Bergsieker ("Bergsieker") filed her original Charge of Discrimination with the MCHR and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on August 28, 2012. Bergsieker only named McDonald's in her Charge of Discrimination. In the Charge particulars, Bergsieker stated that she was sexually harassed by two managers. She states that she complained to her store manager (who was McVean in 2012, but who is not identified by name). Bergsieker does not mention Ruffin (area supervisor) by name or title in her Charge. Bergsieker stated that the last date that discrimination took place was on August 6, 2012, but marked that it was a "continuing violation." McVean and Ruffin are not the alleged harassers in this case.

On June 3, 2014, Bergsieker filed an action in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, State of Missouri, alleging a claim for violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act ("MHRA") for hostile work environment. Bergsieker named McDonald's Corporation ("McDonald's"), Anthony McVean, and Cornelius Ruffin as defendants in her Complaint. Bergsieker alleged that McVean and Ruffin are Missouri residents. Defendant McDonald's removed that action to this Court on July 7, 2014, asserting diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1332, 1446. See Bergsieker v. McDonald's, 4:14cv1213 (E.D. Mo.).[1]

She filed an amended Charge of Discrimination on July 21, 2014. In her amended Charge of Discrimination, she named McDonald's, Anthony McVean, and Cornelius Ruffin. The amended Right to Sue letter was issued on July 31, 2014, and Bergsieker filed the instant lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Charles County against McDonald's, McVean, and Ruffin on the same day. McDonald's removed this lawsuit on August 15, 2014.


I. Motion to Dismiss

In her Complaint, Bergsieker alleges that McVean, as Plaintiffs supervisor and store manager, and Ruffin, as McDonald's area supervisor, "did in fact participate and/or cause or contribute to cause the illegal discrimination described herein." (Petition for Damages-Hostile Work ...

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