United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
employment discrimination was filed in state court and
removed here on the grounds of diversity. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, 1446. Now pending is the motion of
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (Defendant) for a
more definite statement of the claims of Howard Webb
titled his complaint "Discrimination in Violation of
Missouri Human Rights Act." (Compl. at 1, ECF No. 7.) He
alleges that he worked for Defendant from December 2014 to
September 23, 2016. (Id. ¶2.) His work
performance was satisfactory; indeed, he was given a bonus in
2015. (Id. ¶7.) In his job as a Director of
Business Process Transformation, he supervised and worked
with primarily people of Indian descent. (Id.
¶9.) He also conducted sales activities with teams which
were primarily comprised of people of Indian descent.
(Id.) He alleges that these co-workers "impeded
his contact and access to customer accounts over which they
had control[, ] ... prevent[ing] him from expanding his
team's business analyst services." (Id.
¶ 10.) And, these co-workers spoke in a foreign language
when he was present, thereby excluding him from their
conversation. (Id.) Plaintiff complained of these
behaviors to his two supervisors. (Id. ¶¶
11, 13.) He also complained to Hetal Joshi, a director of
consulting. (Id. ¶13.) Subsequently, Plaintiff
was transferred to a position in the Cognizant Deployable
Pool. (Id. ¶16.) People in this Pool are given
five weeks within which to be placed in a new position or
assignment. (Id. ¶16.) Plaintiff was offered
neither, and was then discharged. (Id. ¶17,
18.) On the other hand, Joshi, of Indian descent and
approximately 35 to 40 years of age, was assigned Plaintiffs
former responsibilities and "effectively replaced"
Plaintiff. (Id. ¶16.) Plaintiff further alleges
that Joshi had similar billing deficiencies to those cited as
reasons for Plaintiffs demotion to the Pool and that
Defendant has a pattern of discriminatory behavior.
(Id. ¶¶19, 20-22.)
on the foregoing allegations, Plaintiff claims he has been
discriminated against because of his color (white) and
national origin, in violation of Mo.Rev.Stat. §
213.055.1(1)(a), and his age (he was born in 1955), in
violation of § 213.055.l(1)(a). (Id.
¶¶ 2, 24-25.) This discrimination was a
contributing factor to his discharge. (Id.)
Plaintiff also claims he was discharged in retaliation for
his complaints about the discrimination, in violation of
Mo.Rev.Stat. §213.070.2. (Id. ¶26.) He
seeks monetary damages. (Id. ¶27.)
moves for a more definite statement, arguing the complaint
erroneously fails to (a) be organized into counts; (b)
include sufficient supporting factual allegations; and (c)
state the correct standard, i.e., the discriminatory behavior
must be a motivating, not contributing, factor. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) (allowing a party to "move for a more
definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive
pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that
the party cannot reasonably require a response").
Plaintiff opposes the motion.
Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) and (3) require that a
complaint contain "a short and plain statement"
showing the plaintiff "is entitled to relief and a
demand for the relief sought. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
10(b) states, in relevant part: "If doing so would
promote clarity, each claim founded on a separate transaction
or occurrence ... must be stated in a separate count or
defense." Plaintiffs complaint includes factual
allegations sufficient to show violations of the Missouri
Human Rights Act (MHRA), Mo.Rev.Stat. § 213.010
et seq. He alleges he was demoted and then
transferred to a position from which he was certain to be
discharged, although a similarly-situated man younger than he
and of a different national origin was not treated the same
and was, instead, given Plaintiffs responsibilities and
position. See Mo.Rev.Stat. §
213.055.l(a)(making it illegal for an employer to discharge
"or otherwise to discriminate against any individual
with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or
privileges of employment, because of such individual's
race, color, ... national origin, ... ancestry, age
...."). Plaintiff also alleges he was demoted and
discharged in retaliation for his complaints of
discrimination. See Mo.Rev.Stat. § 213.070.1(2)
(making it unlawful to retaliate or discriminate against any
person who has opposed a practice prohibited by the MHRA).
presently presented, Plaintiffs complaint includes in one
count allegations of discrimination based on age, color, and
national origin and of retaliation. The three claims of
discrimination arise from the same occurrences. The claim of
retaliation does not. "[B]y including multiple claims in
one 'count, ' confusion results." Linzie v.
City of Columbia, Mo., 651 F.Supp. 740, 745 (W.D. Mo.
1986) (holding that, although plaintiffs were
"technically correct" when arguing that their
multiple federal and state claims were properly presented in
one count because they all arose from the same occurrence,
they should amend their complaint to state one claim per
count). Plaintiff shall be directed to amend his complaint to
assert each of his claims in a separate count.
further argues that Plaintiffs references to the
complained-of acts being "contributing" factors to
his discharge should be stricken because the MHRA was amended
prior to his filing suit to abrogate case law so defining the
burden of proof under the MHRA. See Mo.Rev.Stat. §
213.101.4 (amended eff. Aug. 28, 2017). Plaintiff counters
that the difference between "contributing factors"
and "motivating factors, " the standard advocated
by Defendant, is negligible and, regardless, the amendment
does not apply to events occurring before August 2017. The
Court declines to reach in a Rule 12(e) challenge the
question of what burden-of-proof standard to apply to
Plaintiffs MHRA claims.
foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the
Defendant's Motion for More Definite Statement is GRANTED
in part and DENIED in part. [ECF No. 9] It is granted insofar
as Plaintiff is directed to file an amended complaint on or
before January 19, 2018, with each claim presented in a
separate count. It is denied in all other respects.
 Plaintiff is a resident of Missouri;
Defendant is incorporated in Delaware and has its principal
place of business in Texas. ...