United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
WANDA W. SAMS, Plaintiff,
EXPRESS SCRIPTS, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff
Wanda W. Sams for leave to commence this civil action without
prepayment of the filing fee. (Docket No. 2). Upon review of
the motion and the financial information submitted in
support, the Court finds that it should be granted.
Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will
direct the Clerk of Court to issue process on defendant
Express Scripts, Inc.
has filed a pro se complaint under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). She names Express Scripts,
Inc. as defendant. Plaintiff alleges that she was terminated
from her employment with defendant on the basis of her race
and age. (Docket No. 1 at 4-5).
states that she is an African American individual who was
born in 1962. (Docket No. 1 at 5). On April 23, 2012, she was
hired at Express Scripts, Inc. as a Senior Project Manager in
the Client Services Testing Department. She states that
throughout her career, she delivered “excellent
learned that her job as Senior Project Manager was being
eliminated at the end of 2018. She states that she was
encouraged by her director to apply for a Project Manager
position in the Strategy and Transformation Department.
Plaintiff successfully interviewed and was hired into the
department in February of 2018.
of 2018, plaintiff was put on a 90-day Performance
Improvement Plan. She states that this occurred without
warning or previous discussion about her performance. This
happened four months into her new position.
claims that she met the goals of the Performance Improvement
Plan. She further claims she had not been told that she was
not meeting the plan's goals. Nevertheless, on August 15,
2018, she was terminated. At the time of her termination, she
still had 47 days remaining on her Performance Improvement
Plan. Plaintiff asserts that she was the only African
American and the oldest professional employee in the
Department at the time. As such, she alleges that she was
terminated due to her race and age.
filed a charge of discrimination with the United States Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In the charge, she
alleged that Express Scripts, Inc. terminated her on the
basis of race and age. (Docket No. 1-2 at 1). The EEOC mailed
her a right to sue letter on February 5, 2019. She filed the
instant action on March 22, 2019.
brings this action pursuant to Title VII, alleging employment
discrimination on the basis of race and age. The purpose of
Title VII is to ensure a workplace environment free of
discrimination. Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557,
580 (2009). The act prohibits “employer discrimination
on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin, in hiring, firing, salary structure, promotion and
the like.” Winfrey v. City of Forrest City,
Ark., 882 F.3d 757, 758 (8th Cir. 2018).
Before filing an action under Title VII in federal court, a
plaintiff must first exhaust his or her administrative
remedies. Lindeman v. Saint Luke's Hosp. of Kansas
City, 899 F.3d 603, 608 (8th Cir. 2018).
See also Brooks v. Midwest Heart Grp., 655 F.3d 796,
800 (8th Cir. 2011) (stating that “Title VII
establishes an administrative procedure which a complaining
employee must follow before filing a lawsuit in federal
court”). A Title VII claimant is required to
demonstrate good faith participation in the administrative
process in order to exhaust his or her administrative
remedies. Briley v. Carlin, 172 F.3d 567, 571
(8th Cir. 1999). “To exhaust administrative
remedies an individual must: (1) timely file a charge of
discrimination with the EEOC setting forth the facts and
nature of the charge and (2) receive notice of the right to
sue.” Rush v. State of Arkansas DWS, 876 F.3d
1123, 1125 (8th Cir. 2017).
has demonstrated that she has filed a charge of
discrimination with the EEOC. (Docket No. 1-2). The charge
sets forth the facts and nature of the alleged
discrimination. Specifically, she alleges that she was
terminated from her job on the basis of age and race, despite
meeting performance expectations. As such, she has exhausted
her administrative remedies for her Title VII claim. The EEOC
mailed plaintiff a right to sue letter on February 5, 2019,
giving plaintiff ninety days in which to file a lawsuit.
(Docket No. 1-1). Plaintiff filed her complaint on March 22,
2019, within the ninety-day period provided by 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-5(f)(1). Thus, her complaint appears to be
timely filed. Accordingly, the Clerk of Court will be
directed to issue process upon defendant Express Scripts,
to Appoint Counsel
has filed a motion to appoint counsel. (Docket No. 3). The
motion will be denied at this time. In civil cases, a pro se
litigant does not have a constitutional or statutory right to
appointed counsel. Ward v. Smith, 721 F.3d 940, 942
(8th Cir. 2013). See also Stevens v.
Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 546 (8th Cir. 1998) (stating that
“[a] pro se litigant has no statutory or constitutional
right to have counsel appointed in a civil case”).
Rather, a district court may appoint counsel in a civil case
if the court is “convinced that an indigent plaintiff
has stated a non-frivolous claim…and where the nature
of the litigation is such that plaintiff as well as the court
will benefit from the assistance of counsel.”
Patterson v. Kelley, 902 F.3d 845, 850
(8th Cir. 2018). When determining whether to
appoint counsel for an indigent litigant, a court considers
relevant factors such as the complexity of ...