United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
EARL BRITT, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on the 26 April 2017 motion to
dismiss filed by defendant UNC Healthcare. (DE # 12.)
Plaintiff filed a memorandum in opposition on 18 May 2017.
(DE # 18.) UNC Healthcare did not file a reply brief, and the
time within which to do so has expired. This matter is
therefore ripe for disposition.
Annmarie Diede was employed by UNC Healthcare in the Central
Processing Department from 19 January 2015 to 21 April 2015.
(Compl., DE # 4, ¶¶ 2, 5.) Following the
termination of her employment, plaintiff filed a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and a proposed
complaint in this court. (DE # 1.) Plaintiff's complaint
names the following as defendants in this action: UNC
Healthcare; Beth Paganini-Finch; Bradley Jensen; Christina
Vanessa Daniels, Rajai Hussari, and Jerry Unknown. (DE # 4,
at 1.) In the complaint, plaintiff alleges that she was
sexually harassed by Hussari, and that she was terminated
following her complaints about Hussari's conduct in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e
et seq. (Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff also
alleges a state law claim for assault and battery against
Hussari. (Id. at 4.) She seeks recovery of back pay,
reinstatement of her former job, and a trial by jury on all
issues. (Id. at 5.)
January 2017, Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II granted
plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and ordered that plaintiff's complaint be
filed. (DE # 3.) In the same order, Judge Numbers provided a
memorandum and recommendation on frivolity review pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), in which he recommended that
some of plaintiff's claims be dismissed without
prejudice, in part, because she failed to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted. (Id.) Judge Numbers
also recommended that the court dismiss plaintiff's
claims against all defendants except for UNC Healthcare and
Hussari. (Id.) On 24 February 2017, the court
adopted, in its entirety, the reasoning in Judge Number's
memorandum and recommendation and dismissed plaintiff's
battery claim and all claims against Paganini-Finch, Daniels,
Jensen, and Unknown. (DE # 7.) Plaintiff's claims of
hostile work environment, retaliation, and assault against
UNC Healthcare and Hussari remain.
motion to dismiss, UNC Healthcare moves for dismissal based
on lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot.
Dism., DE # 13, at 5.) In the alternative, UNC Healthcare
seeks dismissal of the claims against it for lack of personal
jurisdiction due to plaintiff's failure to properly serve
it under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and
12(b)(5), or in the further alternative dismissal under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim. (Id. at 10, 12.) Because the issue of
subject matter jurisdiction is dispositive, the court does
not consider UNC Healthcare's alternative arguments.
Standard of Review
to Rule 12(b)(1), a court must dismiss all or part of an
action over which it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
Whether subject matter jurisdiction exists is a threshold
question that must be addressed by the court before
considering the merits of the case. Jones v. Am. Postal
Workers Union, 192 F.3d 417, 422 (4th Cir. 1999). A
plaintiff seeking federal jurisdiction has the burden of
proving that subject matter jurisdiction exists. Williams
v. United States, 50 F.3d 299, 304 (4th Cir. 1995).
“In determining whether jurisdiction exists, 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, Fredericksburg & Potomac
R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir.
1991) (citations omitted).
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Healthcare contends that plaintiff's Title VII claims for
hostile work environment and retaliation should be dismissed
under Rule 12(b)(1) because she failed to comply with the
applicable administrative requirements. (Def.'s Mem. in
Supp. Mot., DE # 13, at 5-7.) Additionally, UNC Healthcare
asserts that dismissal is appropriate because it is entitled
to Eleventh Amendment immunity with respect to
plaintiff's Title VII and state law claims. (Id.
Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
first to the applicable administrative requirements, before
filing a Title VII claim in federal court, a plaintiff must
first exhaust her administrative remedies by filing a charge
of discrimination with the Equal Opportunity Employment
Commission (“EEOC”). Jones v. Calvert Group,
Ltd., 551 F.3d 297, 300 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1); 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)).
“The allegations contained in the administrative charge
of discrimination generally limit the scope of any subsequent
judicial complaint.” Hentosh v. Old Dominion
Univ., 767 F.3d 413, 416 (4th Cir. 2014) (citations
omitted). Although courts “recognize that EEOC charges
often are not completed by lawyers and as such must be
construed with utmost liberality, ” courts are
“not at liberty to read into administrative charges
allegations they do not contain.” Balas v.
Huntington Ingalls Indus., Inc., 711 F.3d 401, 408 (4th
Cir. 2013) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
“Only those discrimination claims stated in the initial
charge, those reasonably related to the original complaint,
and those developed by reasonable investigation of the
original complaint” may be pursued in a lawsuit under
Title VII. Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv.
Co., 80 F.3d 954, 963 (4th Cir. 1996).
plaintiff claims that she filed a charge of discrimination in
her complaint, plaintiff did not attach her EEOC charge of
discrimination as an exhibit. Instead, plaintiff attached the
EEOC notice of right to sue letter as an exhibit to the
complaint, (Pl.'s Ex. F, DE # 1-2, at 38), along with the
EEOC determination regarding her charge of discrimination,
(Pl.'s Ex. G, DE # 1-2, at 40). UNC Healthcare argues
that because the EEOC charge is not in the record, the court
cannot properly determine whether the claims in