United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
D. Schroeder United States District Judge.
an employment discrimination action by Plaintiff Shannon
Jefferies, proceeding pro se, alleging race discrimination
and retaliation arising out of her alleged discipline and
termination by UNC Regional Physicians Pediatrics
(“Regional”). Before the court is the motion to
dismiss filed by Defendants Regional and Eric Welch,
Jefferies's supervisor. (Doc. 7.) Jefferies has not filed
a response. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will
be granted in part and denied in part.
complaint, viewed in the light most favorable to Jefferies,
provides only the following short statement:
For charges that are stated on EEOC files that are attached,
also for loss of wages, stressful and disrupted lifestyle due
to lack of employment.
(Doc. 5 at 1.) However, “to determine whether the claim
of a pro se plaintiff can withstand a motion to dismiss, it
is appropriate to look beyond the face of the complaint to
allegations made in any additional materials filled by the
plaintiff.” Armstrong v. Rolm A. Siemeans Co.,
129 F.3d 1258 (4th Cir. 1997) (citing Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)). Jefferies has
attached two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) charges and related paperwork to her
complaint, which include the following facts and allegations:
is a black woman who worked as a Certified Medical Assistant
(“CMA”) at Regional since September 2014. (Doc.
5-1 at 1.) Welch was Jefferies's supervisor.
(Id.) In an EEOC charge filed on June 19, 2017,
Jefferies alleged that on March 21, 2017, she was disciplined
for attendance issues, including arriving late, leaving
early, and “routinely calling-out.”
(Id.) On May 23, 2017, she was disciplined again
“for unrelated reasons” and “submitted a
rebuttal stating [her] belief that [she] was being singled
out due to [her] race.” (Id.) Jefferies was
disciplined again on June 15, 2017, “for attendance
related issues.” (Id.) She alleged that she
was the only CMA being held to the attendance standards and
claimed she had been discriminated against “due to my
race (Black) and in retaliation for my complaint of being
singled out due to my race in violation of Title VII.”
20, 2017, Jefferies filed a second EEOC charge. (Id.
at 2.) In it, she alleged that on June 19, 2017, she was
“abruptly discharged under the guise that [she] had
been ‘witnessed going through another employee's
drawer and retriev[ing] personal information and then
shar[ing] it with other employees.'” (Id.)
Jefferies denies this accusation and claims that she was
terminated in retaliation for her having filed the prior EEOC
charge. (Id.) On March 5, 2018, Jefferies filed this
lawsuit against Regional in the General Court of Justice,
Guilford County, District Court Division-Small Claims court.
(Doc. 1-1.) Regional timely removed the action to this court
based on federal question jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §
1331. (Doc. 1.) Regional then filed the pending motion to
dismiss on March 27, 2018. (Doc. 7.) On March 28, a Roseboro
letter was sent to Jefferies, advising her of her
right to respond and the likelihood that her failure to do so
may result in her case being dismissed. (Doc. 10.) Jefferies
has failed to respond.
though Defendants' motion to dismiss is unopposed and can
ordinarily be granted on that basis, see Local Rule 7.3(k),
the court nevertheless must satisfy itself that the motion is
merited. Gardendance, Inc. v. Woodstock Copperworks,
Ltd., 230 F.R.D. 438, 449 (M.D. N.C. 2005). Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) provides that a complaint must
contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief. Under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter . . . 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 “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. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). Jefferies is proceeding pro se and is entitled
to a liberal construction of her pleading; however, this
liberal construction does not require the court to ignore
clear defects in pleading, Bustos v. Chamberlain,
No. 3:09-1760-HMH-JRM, 2009 WL 2782238, at *2 (D.S.C. Aug.
27, 2009), or to “conjure up questions never squarely
presented in the complaint, ” Brice v.
Jenkins, 489 F.Supp.2d 538, 541 (E.D. Va. 2007)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Jefferies's Claims Against Welch
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), authorizes
claims against an employer, but not against non-employers or
supervisors. Id. § 2000e-(2)(a)(1) (“[i]t
shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to
discriminate against any individual with respect to [her]
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,
because of such individual's race); Lissau v. S. Food
Serv., Inc., 159 F.3d 177, 180 (4th Cir. 1998).
Jefferies alleges that she was employed by Regional, not
Welch. (Doc. 5-1 at 1.) As such, Welch is not an employer,
and the Title VII claims against him will be dismissed.