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Abadi v. Mecklenburg County Health Department

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

November 27, 2017

NAZANIN ROSTAM ABADI, Plaintiff,
v.
MECKLENBURG COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, MECKLENBURG COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 8) pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Because Plaintiff appears pro se, the Court issued a Roseboro notice (Doc. No. 12) informing Plaintiff of the burden she carries in responding to Defendant's Motion. Plaintiff has responded (Doc. No. 10 and 14), and this matter is now ripe for review. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 8).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a former employee of the Mecklenburg County Health Department, where she worked as a WIC Clinician for more than nine years. She states both that she was wrongfully terminated and that she was forced to resign on November 29, 2016. She complains she was subject to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for trying to address an unsafe work environment that led to her two work-related injuries. She also claims she was discriminated against on the basis of her religion and her national origin, that she is in constant pain due to her injuries, and that she cannot collect unemployment because of a document she “was forced to sign on false pretenses.”

         According to her Complaint, Plaintiff filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) in mid-March 2017 and received a “Notice of Right to Sue” letter on April 26, 2017. (Doc. No. 1, p. 3). On July 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint. (Doc. No. 1). She purports to bring claims under the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina.

         On August 14, 2017, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims under the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. No. 3). Defendant, on September 19, 2017, filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's remaining complaints pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 8). Plaintiff has responded (Doc. No. 10 and 14), and this motion is now ripe.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Plaintiff has the burden of proving that subject matter jurisdiction exists. See Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). The existence of subject matter jurisdiction is a threshold issue the court must address before considering the merits of the case. Jones v. Am. Postal Workers Union, 192 F.3d 417, 422 (4th Cir. 1999). When a defendant challenges subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), “the district court is to regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment.” Richmond, 945 F.2d at 768. The district court should grant the Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss “only if the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.” Id. See also Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999).

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the “legal sufficiency of the complaint” but “does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992); Eastern Shore Markets, Inc. v. J.D. Assoc. Ltd. Partnership, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss will survive if it contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 697 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Robinson v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 551 F.3d 218, 222 (4th Cir. 2009). “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. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. The Supreme Court has also opined that

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” In addition, when ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.

Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56) (internal citations omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Defendant contends that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's Title VII and REDA claims. (Doc. No. 9, p. 3). For the reasons set out below, the ...


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