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Perkins v. Davis

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

June 5, 2015

JERRY PERKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
MYRTLE HILLIARD DAVIS d/b/a FLORENCE HILL, and INEZ LAMPKIN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Inez Lampkin. (Doc. 26). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. (Doc. 28). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Defendant Lampkin's motion.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Jerry Perkins ("Plaintiff"), acting pro se, brings this action against both Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Centers, Inc. ("MHD"), his employer, and Inez Lampkin ("Lampkin"), his supervisor. He alleges claims of gender discrimination, retaliation, and disparate treatment based on race pursuant to both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), and the Missouri Human Rights Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 213.055 et seq. ("MHRA"). In his gender discrimination claim, Plaintiff alleges that Lampkin called him and told him that he was being suspended without pay due to an incident in which he inappropriately took a smoking break. He alleges that a female coworker who joined him on that break was not suspended and claims that Lampkin intervened on behalf of the female coworker to forestall her punishment, but took no such action on Plaintiff's behalf because of his gender. In Plaintiff's retaliation claim, Plaintiff alleges that another MHD employee, Mrs. Shabazz, took various actions against him after he filed an EEOC complaint based on gender discrimination; the allegations in that claim do not mention Lampkin. In his race discrimination claim, Plaintiff alleges that African American employees were required to work in urgent care but that a particular white employee was not. The sole allegation against Lampkin in connection with this claim was that she "shared in the illegal actions against the Plaintiff." (Doc. 17, ¶ 28).

Before filing the instant action, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination (the "Charge") with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on January 21, 2014. In the Charge, Plaintiff named only MHD as the discriminating party and alleged discrimination only on the basis of sex. The only mentions of Lampkin in the Charge were that she was Plaintiff's immediate supervisor and that she informed Plaintiff of his suspension via telephone. After the EEOC issued Plaintiff a right-to-sue letter, Plaintiff initiated the instant action against both MHD and Lampkin.[1] (Doc. 17).

On February 10, 2015, Lampkin filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. She argues that the Court should (1) dismiss Plaintiff's Title VII claims against her because individuals are not subject to liability under that statute; (2) dismiss Plaintiff's MHRA claims against her for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies; and (3) in the alternative, dismiss Plaintiff's MHRA claims against her for failure to allege facts sufficient to state a claim.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint, but it need not accept legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim satisfies the plausibility standard "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S., at 556).

"In evaluating whether a pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a claim, [the court] hold[s] a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, ... to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)); see also Whitson v. Stone Cnty. Jail, 602 F.3d 920, 922 n. 1 (8th Cir. 2010) (" [P]ro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than other parties....'") (quoting Fed. Express Corp. v. Holowecki, 552 U.S. 389, 402 (2008)).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Title VII Claims

Lampkin moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Title VII claims against her on the ground that individuals are not subject to liability under that statute. It is well-settled in the Eighth Circuit that Title VII "does not provide for an action against an individual supervisor." Van Horn v. Best Buy Stores, L.P., 526 F.3d 1144, 1147 (8th Cir. 2008) (affirming summary judgment for individual defendant on a Title VII claim). See also Ebersole v. Novo Nordisk, Inc., No. 1:11-CV-25 SNLJ, 2011 WL 6115655, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 8, 2011) ("It is well-settled in the Eighth Circuit that individuals are not subject to individual liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."). Accordingly, Plaintiff's Title VII claims against Lampkin will be dismissed.

B. MHRA Claims

Unlike Title VII, the MHRA permits claims against individual supervisors. Hill v. Ford Motor Co., 277 S.W.3d 659, 669 (Mo. 2009). However, Lampkin argues that the Court should dismiss the MHRA claims against her because Plaintiff ...


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