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Smith v. Parker

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Eastern Division

December 5, 2017

JASMAN J. SMITH, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the court on defendants' partial motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 (b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (DE 15). The issues raised are ripe for ruling. For the following reasons, the court grants defendants' partial motion to dismiss as set forth herein.


         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, commenced this action against her former employer, the Town of Winterville (“Winterville”), the town manager Terri L. Parker (“Parker”), and the Winterville Town Council (“Council”) on January 31, 2017, asserting claims for discrimination, denial of promotion, wrongful termination, and retaliation based on race, disability, and pregnancy, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. (“Title VII”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., (“ADA”) and pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 (“§ 1983”).

         On March 29, 2017, defendants filed the instant partial motion to dismiss, asserting that 1) plaintiff's claims for pregnancy discrimination, violation of the ADA, and for failure to promote should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim and 2) plaintiff's § 1983 claim should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, and 3) claims against Terri Parker, in her individual and official capacities, and claims against Winterville Town Council cannot be maintained. On April 21, 2017, plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the instant motion, including over 200 pages of exhibits, labeled exhibits 1-31, that include the charges filed by plaintiff with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), [1] various work-related emails, newspaper articles, work documents, medical correspondence, and employment information. Defendants replied on May 4, 2017.


         The facts alleged in the complaint may be summarized as follows.

         Plaintiff was hired as an executive assistant for defendant Winterville in December 2008. (Compl. (DE 1-1) at 1). In August 2010, plaintiff was placed on bed rest due to pregnancy. (Id.) Plaintiff was on maternity leave until November 2010. (Id.) After her return from maternity leave, defendant Parker suggested plaintiff stay home with her child and discouraged plaintiff from becoming the town clerk. (Id.) Plaintiff was promoted to the position of town clerk. (Id.)

         During her time working for defendant Winterville, plaintiff was accused of being “entitled” and called “gal” and was not allowed to apply for a scholarship for a master's clerk certification, was told her professional certifications and aspirations to pursue a master's degree were “pieces of paper, ” was denied access to her personnel file, was strictly monitored while in the office, was told she had to be gracious to others, and was not allowed to supervise staff. (Id. at 3). Additionally, plaintiff, who is black, was treated differently from white co-workers in that she was disciplined for being late, forced to submit original doctor notes, was questioned as to why she attended a meeting with a black council member, and forced to write a report regarding the meeting. (Id.).

         Plaintiff was placed on a performance improvement plan in March 1, 2016. (Id. at 1) Plaintiff denies that there were issues with her performance. (Id.) Plaintiff filed a grievance with regard to the performance improvement plan and later requested information regarding the status of the performance improvement plan. (Id.) She was informed it was under review. (Id.)

         On May 22, 2016, plaintiff filed her first her first charge with the EEOC asserting race-based discrimination in violation of Title VII in that she has been denied career enhancement opportunities, treated less favorably, and information related to her position has been withheld from her, resulting in her being placed on a performance improvement plan. (Id. at 4).

         On June 27, 2016, defendant Winterville issued a pre-disciplinary letter to plaintiff suspending plaintiff with pay and held a predisciplinary conference with her the following day. (Id. at 1) Plaintiff was terminated from her employment on July 5, 2016 for insubordination. (Id.) Plaintiff has not been allowed to retrieve her personal items from the office. (Id.)

         On August 2, 2016, plaintiff filed her second charge with the EEOC, asserting that her termination from employment was the result of race-based discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. (Id. at 6).

         On November 2, 2016, regarding both of plaintiff's charges, the EEOC closed its investigation and issued a notice of right to sue. (Id. at 5, 7). This ...

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