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Coleman v. The University of Mount Olive

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

April 10, 2019

TWANA N. COLEMAN, JO H. FERGUSON, and CARLY SINGLETON MDUMA, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MOUNT OLIVE, CHRISTY B. COX, CORDELIA WILCOX, LISA NEUSELL, and TERRI GRICE, Defendants.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (DE 22). Plaintiffs have not responded to the motion, and the time for response has passed. In this posture, the issues raised are ripe for ruling. For the following reasons, defendants' motion is granted.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         Plaintiffs, who are former employees of defendant University of Mount Olive (“UMO”), [1]commenced this action pro se on November 27, 2018, asserting employment discrimination claims against their former employer and supervisors, premised upon wrongful termination, failure to promote, and hostile work environment, due to race, gender, and retaliation. Plaintiffs seek trial by jury and any other relief as may be appropriate, including injunctive orders and damages. Plaintiffs attach to their complaint dismissals and notices of rights to sue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

         Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss on January 23, 2019, seeking dismissal of all claims with prejudice. The court sent plaintiffs a notice on January 24, 2019, regarding requirements to respond to the motion. Plaintiffs did not respond in opposition to the motion.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

         The facts alleged in the complaint may be summarized as follows. Plaintiff Twana Coleman (“Coleman”) was employed by UMO from November 2010, until she left voluntarily in May 2018. Plaintiff Carly T. Singleton Mduma (“Singleton Mduma”) was employed by UMO from June 2014, until she left voluntarily in May 2018. Plaintif Jo H. Ferguson (“Ferguson”) was employed by UMO from August 2014, until she was discharged in April 2018.

         Defendant Christy B. Cox (“Cox”) is a “Caucasian, Female, Director of UMO at New Bern.” (Compl. p. 3). Defendant Lisa Neusell (“Neusell”) is a “Caucasian, Female, Dean of Extended Education” at UMO. (Id.). Defendant Cordelia Wilcox (“Wilcox”) is an “African American, Female, Director of Human Resources” at UMO. (Id.). Defendant Terri Grice (“Grice”) is a “Caucasian, Female, Assistant Registrar - Traditional” at UMO. (Id.).

         Plaintiffs assert in the complaint that defendants discriminated against them on the basis of race, sex, hostile work environment, and retaliation, during a time period from April 2017 to May 2018. Plaintiffs allege that the manner in which defendants discriminated against them was as follows:

1) “Interactions with people of the opposite race or ethnically diverse was hostile in comparison to those of the same race.” (Id. at 4).
2) “Male coworkers were given special treatment and not reprimanded in the same manner as female staff.” (Id.).
3) “Complaints to HR resulted in unwarranted, multiple write-ups.” (Id.).
4) “Despite reports of hostile working conditions HR failed to sufficiently eradicate the issues or protect whistleblowers.” (Id.).
5) “Despite experience & employer accolades promotions were denied due to race, gender, and retaliation, [and] wrongful termination due to retaliation ...

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