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Davis v. Jackson County

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

July 28, 2016

TERESSA DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS

          ROBERT E. LARSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the court is a motion to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint as to defendant Jackson County, Missouri, on the ground that because Jackson County was not plaintiff’s employer, plaintiff has failed to state a claim against Jackson County upon which relief can be granted. For the following reasons, defendant’s motion will be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff states in her complaint that she was employed by “Jackson County, Missouri and the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court - Family Court as a Youth Worker.”

2. Defendant Jackson County, Missouri is a first class constitutionally-chartered county organized under the constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, an employer located at 415 East 12th Street, 2nd Floor, Jackson County, Kansas City, Missouri 64133.[1] Jackson County funds 70% of the positions at the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court. It is organized and exist[s] under the laws of the State of Missouri. . . .
3. . . . On the website at http://16thcircuit.org, on July 17, 2013, on July 17, 2013, under “FAQ” it indicates that a person who works for the Sixteenth Judicial Court will be an employee. It further states that “70% of our positions are funded by Jackson County and 30% are funded by the State of the Missouri. The Court is the Judicial branch of both County and State government.”

(Complaint, p. 1-2) (emphasis in original).

         On October 29, 2012, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging discrimination based on race, sex and disability along with retaliation. She received a right to sue letter; however, the complaint does not indicate whether plaintiff pursued that claim. Approximately three years later, plaintiff’s employment was terminated on September 23, 2015. On October 9, 2015, she filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and the MCHR.[2] On October 20, 2015, the EEOC issued a notice of right to sue after failing to conclude that information obtained during its investigation established violations of the law. On October 26, 2015, the MCHR issued a notice of “no right to sue” on plaintiff’s allegation of sexual orientation discrimination because sexual orientation is not protected under the Missouri Human Rights Act. The MCHR adopted the EEOC’s “investigation summary” and issued a notice of right to sue on all other allegations. Plaintiff filed this complaint on January 13, 2016.

         Plaintiff attempts to allege retaliation and discrimination based on her sex, race, sexual orientation, and disability.[3]

18. Plaintiff Teressa Davis suffered a continuous pattern of retaliation. She was discriminated against because of her gender, sexual orientation, failing to accommodate her disability, reporting a claim of child abuse, and discharged because of prior grievances, exercising her rights and filing a workmen’s compensation claim, all in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (hereinafter “MHRA”) Section 213.010, et. seq.

(complaint, p. 5).

         On May 3, 2016, defendant Jackson County filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff is not employed by Jackson County and thus has failed to state a claim against Jackson County upon which relief can be granted. Defendant also points out that plaintiff did not mention Jackson County in her administrative filings with the EEOC or the MCHR. On May 31, 2016, plaintiff filed a response, arguing that “due to an oversight and clerical error” plaintiff was not as specific as defendants believe appropriate as far as stating in the complaint how each party contributed to plaintiff’s suffering, but plaintiff can amend her complaint to include a more definite statement. On June 17, 2016, Jackson County filed a reply, reiterating that it was not plaintiff’s employer.

         II. MOTION TO DISMISS

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim should be granted only if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would entitle her to relief. Ritchie Capital Management, L.L.C. v. Jeffries, 653 F.3d 755, 764 (8th Cir. 2011); Craig Outdoor Advertising, Inc. v. Viacom Outdoor, Inc., 528 F.3d 1001, 1023-24 (8th Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 555 U.S. 1136 (2009). In ruling a motion to dismiss, the court is required to view all facts in the complaint as true. CN v. Willmar Public Schools, 591 F.3d 624, 629 (8th Cir. 2010); Owen v. General Motors Corp., 533 F.3d 913, 918 (8th Cir. 2008). Although a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, “a plaintiff’s 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 ...


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