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Hardy v. City of Kansas City

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

December 20, 2019

TOMMIE HARDY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

          GREG KAYS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This civil rights action arises from Defendant City of Kansas City, Missouri's alleged practice of discriminating against its black employees, including Plaintiff Tommie Hardy. Now before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss (Doc. 29). The Court GRANTS the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Because Plaintiff still cannot show sufficient facts to support his claims, this dismissal is with prejudice.

         Standard

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), the court may dismiss a complaint for “fail[ing] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” A complaint survives a Rule 12(b)(6) motion if it contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible on its face 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. While “legal conclusions can provide the framework of the complaint, ” those conclusions “must be supported by factual allegations.” Hager v. Ark. Dep't of Health, 735 F.3d 1009, 1014 (8th Cir. 2013) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 508). Mere labels and conclusions, or formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action, are insufficient. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court treats all well-pleaded facts in a complaint as true and construes them in the plaintiff's favor. Id. at 554.

         Background

         Because this comes to the Court on a motion to dismiss, the Court recounts the background in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, giving him the benefit of all reasonable inferences.

         Plaintiff is a black male who has been employed by Defendant since 1993. During that time, he alleges the following incidents have arisen during his employment:

         First, in or about August 2006, Plaintiff received a letter of reprimand, the details of which are not included in his amended complaint.[1]

         Second, on or about May 18, 2016, Plaintiff was “pulled away from [his] assignment” at an electrical power box and replaced with a white employee. While Plaintiff was off the assignment, an error occurred which resulted in Defendant draining approximately 3.5 million gallons of water.

         Third, on or about September 27, 2016, Defendant directed Plaintiff to attend a meeting regarding the water loss incident. At that meeting, Plaintiff explained that he was not involved in the error that resulted in the accidental draining of millions of gallons of water. The white employee who replaced him also denied his involvement in the error. Ultimately, the meeting resulted in Defendant suspending Plaintiff for three days without pay, based on the error and Plaintiff's letter of reprimand. Plaintiff claims this suspension without pay was due to Defendant believing the white employee's word over Plaintiff's, allegedly based solely on race.

         Fourth, in or about 2017, Plaintiff suffered a shoulder injury and asked for temporary reassignment. A white supervisor told him that he needed to provide a doctor's note to be temporarily reassigned. The next year, in 2018, that same white supervisor did not require a doctor's note from a white employee who requested reassignment because he was feeling ill. Instead he temporarily reassigned him based on his personal assertion of illness.

         In March 2019, Plaintiff filed suit in Missouri state court alleging violations under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986. Defendant timely removed to this Court, invoking its federal-question jurisdiction. Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim. This Court granted that motion (Doc. 23), and Plaintiff timely filed an amended complaint (Doc. 25).

         To support his amended complaint, Plaintiff cites two prior decisions in Missouri state court where a jury found Defendant liable for conduct relating to racial discrimination. First, Plaintiff cites Johnson v. City of Kansas City, Mo., No. 1616-CV08470. In this case, a jury found Defendant liable for retaliation after Plaintiff reported racial discrimination, from 2012- 2014. Next, he cites McKinney v. City of Kansas City, Mo., No. 1616-CV02932. In this case, a jury found Defendant liable for race discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, and retaliation after Plaintiff reported the racial discrimination, from 2011-2015. Moreover, Plaintiff cites testimony from those trials and identifies twenty-three state court cases against Defendant where it was accused of engaging in harassment, discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, and retaliation. The only details provided on the cases are their names.

         Defendant has now again filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that Plaintiff has still failed to state a claim of municipal ...


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