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Lee v. Better Family Life

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

January 22, 2018

SAMMY LEE CASEY-EL,
v.
BETTER FAMILY LIFE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the application of plaintiff for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Plaintiff has failed to provide the Court with a copy of his CJA 23 Financial Affidavit; therefore the Court is unable to determine whether plaintiff is financially unable to pay the filing fee. Plaintiff will be required to file a CJA 23 Financial Affidavit prior to this Court ruling on his motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

         Further, because plaintiff has filed his complaint on prisoner civil rights complaint form, plaintiff will be required to amend his complaint on a form complaint for filing employment discrimination complaints. Plaintiff will also be required to provide the Court with a copy of his notice of right to sue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and Order.

         Background

         Plaintiff brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., for alleged religious discrimination for his “Moslem” religion.[1] Plaintiff also alleges that he was subjected to disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Named as defendants in this action are: Better Family Life; Dwight Unknown (Maintenance Supervisor); Jihad Khayyam; Alice Cage; and Jackie Bland.

         Plaintiff attached a copy of his charge of discrimination to his complaint made out to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights ("MCHR"), dated November 30, 2017. However, plaintiff has failed to provide the Court with a copy of his notice of right to sue from the EEOC, which would give this Court jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims.

         Although plaintiff's complaint states that he is bringing his claims pursuant to Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA, nowhere in the complaint does it specifically state that he is bringing a claim for discrimination or retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Rather, plaintiff has merely attached a copy of his charge of discrimination from the MCHR. The Court will not surmise a claim when one has not been articulated.

         Legal Standard

         Because plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required to conduct an initial review of the case and to dismiss it if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). A case can be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if the statute of limitations has run. See, e.g., Myers v. Vogal, 960 F.2d 750, 751 (8th Cir. 1992).

         Discussion

         When plaintiff filed his complaint with the MCHR, the complaint was automatically dual-filed with the EEOC. As such, if plaintiff has received an EEOC right to sue letter, he must submit a copy of it to this Court. If he has not yet received an EEOC right to sue letter, this Court would not have jurisdiction over plaintiff's EEOC claims[2] or any MHRA claim, because federal jurisdiction over a plaintiff's state MHRA claim depends upon the Court's jurisdiction over a federal claim in the same action.[3]

         The statute of limitations is now running on plaintiff's state MHRA claim, should he wish to file one.[4] A plaintiff should always be aware of the necessity of filing an employment discrimination claim within the time period provided by statute and in the appropriate state or federal court. In the absence of an accompanying federal claim, a plaintiff may file an MHRA claim in the appropriate state court within the time period set forth in a MCHR notice of right to sue letter.

         Additionally, to the extent plaintiff is attempting to assert federal claims, pursuant to Title VII, against the individual defendants in this matter, he should be aware that such claims are subject to dismissal. Title VII provides a remedy only against an Aemployer." The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has squarely held that Asupervisors may not be held individually liable under Title VII." Bonomolo-Hagen v. Clay Central-Everly Community School District, 121 F.3d 446, 447 (8th Cir. 1997) (citing Spencer v. Ripley County State Bank, 123 F.3d 690, 691-92 (8th Cir. 1997); see Bales v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 143 F.3d 1103, 1111 (8th Cir. 1998). As a result, plaintiff's claims against the individual defendants in this action fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Title VII, the ADA or the ADEA.

         Accordingly, the Court will order plaintiff to amend his complaint on an employment court-form and supplement the record by submitting a copy of his EEOC right to sue letter, if he has received one, within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff will also be required to provide the Court with a CJA Financial Affidavit within thirty (30) days of this Memorandum and Order. ...


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