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Bryon anderson v. Mcm Construction Inc

December 14, 2012

BRYON ANDERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MCM CONSTRUCTION INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Presently pending before this court is defendant's motion to dismiss, filed July 26, 2012.*fn1 Having reviewed the motion, opposition,*fn2 and reply, the court now issues the following findings and recommendations.

BACKGROUND

This action was commenced on October 20, 2010, and is proceeding on the third amended complaint ("TAC"), filed March 21, 2012. Plaintiff, an African-American, was employed by defendant MCM Construction ("MCM") in 2006 as a carpenter. He alleges that MCM*fn3 paid him less than other workers. Plaintiff asserts that defendant accused him of complaining that he was being discriminated against, and responded by subjecting him to adverse treatment and finally termination. (TAC at 2.) The TAC also alleges that defendant permitted a hostile work environment and applied different terms and conditions to non-Blacks. (Id. at 2-3.) It further alleges that defendant discriminated against plaintiff by sending him to work at a different job site where he was forced to dig holes by hand with a shovel even though tractor backhoes were always used for this type of work. Plaintiff claims that in this manner it took him three weeks to move two feet of dirt whereas with a back hoe he could have completed the job in less than four hours. (Id. at 3.) The TAC alleges that plaintiff, who had more than three years experience, was wrongfully terminated, but that defendant kept an apprentice carpenter who had less than a month of experience. After he was terminated, plaintiff alleges that defendant hired two more carpenters less than two weeks later. (Id. at 4.) As a result of the stress, he developed Herpes and became depressed. In addition to retaliation, discrimination and wrongful termination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, plaintiff alleges a hostile work environment.

DISCUSSION

Defendant's motion seeks dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.

I. Legal Standard for Motion to Dismiss

In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6),

a complaint must contain more than a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;" it must contain factual allegations sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). "The pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action." Id., quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955). "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." Id.

In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740, 96 S. Ct. 1848, 1850 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion and resolve all doubts in the pleader's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421, 89 S. Ct. 1843, 1849, reh'g denied, 396 U.S. 869, 90 S. Ct. 35 (1969). The court will "'presume that general allegations embrace those specific facts that are necessary to support the claim.'" National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 256, 114 S.Ct. 798, 803 (1994), quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S. Ct. 2130, 2137 (1992). Moreover, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S. Ct. 594, 596 (1972).

The court may consider facts established by exhibits attached to the complaint. Durning v. First Boston Corp., 815 F.2d 1265, 1267 (9th Cir. 1987). The court may also consider facts which may be judicially noticed, Mullis v. United States Bankruptcy Ct., 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987); and matters of public record, including pleadings, orders, and other papers filed with the court, Mack v. South Bay Beer Distributors, 798 F.2d 1279, 1282 (9th Cir. 1986). The court need not accept legal conclusions "cast in the form of factual allegations." Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981).

A pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F. 2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987).

II. Title VII Standards

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." Id., § 2000e-2(a)(1) (emphasis added). Section 2000e-16 makes the substantive provisions of Title VII applicable to federal agencies. If the employer permits the work environment to be permeated by hostility based on the emphasized protected categories, this hostile work environment itself violates Title VII. Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 106 S.Ct. 2399 (1986).

A suit for retaliation may be brought under Title VII which provides in part: It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees . . . because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter, or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or ...


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