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Logan v. Rutherford County Board of Education

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

February 24, 2015

BONNIE LOGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
RUTHERFORD COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION

DENNIS L. HOWELL, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [# 22]. Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se brought this action against Defendants asserting a claim for race discrimination pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Defendants move to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint in its entirety. Upon a review of the record, the parties' briefs, and the relevant legal authority, the Court RECOMMENDS that the District Court GRANT in part and DENY in part the motion [# 22].

I. Background

Plaintiff, who is African American, was employed by Defendant Rutherford County Board of Education ("Rutherford County") as a bus driver. (Pl.'s 2nd Am. Compl. at pp. 4, 6, 18, 30.) Defendant Hendrix is the Chief Operating Officer for Rutherford County Schools. (Id. at p. 4.) Defendant Robinson is the Director of Human Resources for the Rutherford County Schools. (Id. p. 29.)

At some point during October of 2013, Plaintiff was driving a bus to pick up children for school.[1] (Id. at pp. 4, 30.) Linda Cole, a bus monitor employed by Defendant Rutherford County, was also on the bus. (Id.) Cole is a white female. (Id. at pp. 3-4, 30.)

While Plaintiff was operating the bus, an incident occurred where a child became unruly and was eventually removed from the bus when the bus arrived at the child's day care. (Id. at pp. 4, 30.) After the child was removed from the bus, Plaintiff continued on her scheduled route. (Id. at p. 30.) As Plaintiff was pulling out of the day care she heard the child hit the bus with his hand. (Id.) Plaintiff, however, could not see the child. (Id.) Because Plaintiff could not see the child, she asked the bus monitor where the child was located, and the monitor informed Plaintiff that the child was running behind the bus. (Id.) The monitor then informed Plaintiff that the child fell to his knees in the middle of the road. (Id.) Plaintiff then stopped the bus. (Id.) Once the monitor informed Plaintiff that the child was no longer in sight, Plaintiff called the bus garage and reported the incident to the Transportation Director. (Id.) Plaintiff then proceeded on her bus route. (Id.)

The day after the incident, someone with Defendant Rutherford County informed Plaintiff not to report to work due to a pending investigation into the incident with the child. (Id.) Defendant Rutherford County subsequently terminated Plaintiff's employment. (Id. at pp. 3-4, 30.) The Assistant Superintendent informed Plaintiff that she was terminated for disregard to a student's safety. (Id. at p. 30.) Plaintiff, however, contends that she was terminated as the result of unlawful racial discrimination because the white bus monitor that was also on the bus was not terminated and was not questioned during the investigation. (Id. at pp. 3-4, 30.)

After her termination, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Id. at p. 3.) Once the EEOC issued Plaintiff a Notice of Right to Sue, she brought this action for racial discrimination pursuant to Title VII. Defendants then moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint in its entirety. The District Court referred the Motion to Dismiss to this Court. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is now properly before this Court for a Memorandum and Recommendation to the District Court.

II. Legal Standard

The central issue for resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is whether the claims state a plausible claim for relief. See Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 189 (4th Cir. 2009). In considering Defendants' motion, the Court accepts the allegations in the Second Amended Complaint as true and construes them in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 253 (4th Cir. 2009); Giacomelli, 588 F.3d at 190-92. Although the Court accepts well-pled facts as true, it is not required to accept "legal conclusions, elements of a cause of action, and bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement...." Consumeraffairs.com, 591 F.3d at 255; see also Giacomelli, 588 F.3d at 189.

The claims need not contain "detailed factual allegations, " but must contain sufficient factual allegations to suggest the required elements of a cause of action. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007); see also Consumeraffairs.com, 591 F.3d at 256. "[A] formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. Nor will mere labels and legal conclusions suffice. Id . Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).

The Second Amended Complaint is required to contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974; see also Consumeraffairs.com, 591 F.3d at 255. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; see also Consumeraffairs.com, 591 F.3d at 255. The mere possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient for a claim to survive a motion to dismiss. Consumeraffairs.com, 591 F.3d at 256; Giacomelli, 588 F.3d at 193. Ultimately, the well-pled factual allegations must move a plaintiff's claim from possible to plausible. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974; Consumeraffairs.com, 591 F.3d at 256.

III. Analysis

A. The Title VII Claims against Defendants ...


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