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Syed v. South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

March 17, 2015

Naheed Syed, Plaintiff,
South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department; Team 1 Staffing; Office Team; Accountemps; Adecco; Apple One; Alternative Staffing, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (Partial Summary Dismissal)

BRISTOW MARCHANT, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, originally filed a complaint which consisted of several different lists of defendants and several repetitive complaints setting forth (in some cases) different claims. She was advised that her pleadings were not in compliance with Rule 8(a), Fed. R. Civ. P., and was directed to submit a new complaint form listing one set of defendants, setting forth her claim(s) against those defendants in a manner that could be understood by the reader, setting forth a jurisdictional basis (i.e., Title VII, § 1981, etc.) for the claim(s) asserted, and setting forth her requested relief. ECF No. 7 at 2.

Plaintiff then filed a new complaint (docketed as the amended complaint in this action) in which she alleges that the Defendants violated her rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (§ 1981); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701, et seq; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. Amended Complaint, ECF No. 10 at 1, 9-10. She requests compensatory damages, lost wages and benefits, punitive damages, a long-term contract for a computer programmer's position, prejudgment interest on all claims, back pay, and front pay with interest, and benefits. Id. at 10, 28.

Standard of Review

This action is before the Court for pre-service review. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); In re Prison Litigation Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir.1997) [pleadings by non-prisoners should also be screened]. Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se complaint herein (as amended) pursuant to the procedural provisions of § 1915, and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir.1995) (en banc); and Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir.1983). Section 1915 permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without paying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. However, to protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss a case upon a finding that the action "is frivolous or malicious, " "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " or "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

A finding of frivolousness can be made where the complaint "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. at 31. Hence, under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319. Further, while this Court is also required to liberally construe pro se documents, holding them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)(quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)), the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.1990).


A South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) brochure indicates that the Defendant state agency provides vocational counseling and guidance services to persons with physical or mental impairments that hinders them from competitive employment. ECF No. 10-1 at 118. Defendants Team 1 Staffing, Office Team, Accountemps, Adecco, Apple One, and Alternative Staffing are all employment agencies. ECF No. 10 at 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24. According to the allegations of the Complaint, Plaintiff is an Indian born (now a United States citizen), Muslim female. She is more than forty years old, alleges that she is mentally disabled, and receives Social Security disability benefits. ECF No. 10 at 11, 10-1 at 23.[1] She received an Associate Degree from Truman College in 1982, a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems from DeVry Institute of Technology in 1986, a two-year certificate from a school in Hyderabad, India in 1996, and a two-year certificate in computer programming from Glendale Community College in 2003. ECF No. 10 at 12.

Plaintiff alleges that in 2007 and 2008 she met with Hunsinger (a white female) at SCVRD in Greenville, South Carolina. Hunsinger reviewed Plaintiff's resume and cover letter, and told Plaintiff she would get Plaintiff a job as computer operator in two weeks. However, when Plaintiff called Hunsinger back, SCVRD counselor Pattie Label stated that Hunsinger had been transferred to another department and Hunsinger should not have said that she (Hunsinger) was going to give Plaintiff a job. Plaintiff had appointments and interviews with Label and other counselors, but none of them helped Plaintiff get a job. ECF No. 1 at 11, 14-15.

Plaintiff alleges that in 2012 and 2013 she had various dealings with the SCVRD office in North Charleston, South Carolina. SCVRD employee Shannon Reed (white female) met with Plaintiff and Reed asked Plaintiff to "redo" her resume and cover letter. Plaintiff revised her resume and cover letter and called Reed, but Reed kept giving Plaintiff new appointment dates.[2] Plaintiff was transferred to SCVRD counselor Lauren McGuire (white female) who kept giving Plaintiff new appointment dates with no results. McGuire and Reed would not return Plaintiff's phone calls, and Reed said that SCVRD did not provide jobs. Reed asked Plaintiff if she had a diabetic condition, but when Plaintiff asked Reed how that would affect her job search, Reed had no answer to Plaintiff's question. McGuire allegedly asked if Plaintiff had experienced cardiac arrest. SRVRD employee "Tracey" (white female) told Plaintiff that they did not help people get jobs, but that Plaintiff could use their computers. ECF No. 10 at 11, 15-17. Plaintiff also filed an application for a counseling position at SCVRD, but no one ever called her and she was never able to discuss the job with SCVRD. Id. at 17.

Plaintiff alleges she met with "Williams, " a white female at Defendant Team 1 Staffing, in July 2013. Plaintiff expressed interest in a receptionist position at Team 1 Staffing, and Williams said she would call Plaintiff in September 2013. On September 3, 2013, Plaintiff called Team 1 Staffing and asked to speak to Williams about the receptionist position, but the woman who answered the phone (named "Pauly") told Plaintiff that she [Pauly] took the receptionist job. Plaintiff asserts that Williams hired Pauly before the month of September. ECF No. 10 at 11, 18-19.

Plaintiff alleges she emailed her resume and cover letter to Saskia K. Munn (white female) at Defendant Office Team on June 28, 2013, and interviewed for an administrative assistant position (job number XXXXX-XXXXXX) in July 2013. Plaintiff asserts that "Office Team offers office jobs which include executive positions like the job Plaintiff was looking for, a Computer Programmer's Job." Plaintiff claims that an administrative assistant job was available, but Munn stated that they had already hired somebody for the job. Munn asked Plaintiff to talk to Arthur E. Halder at Accountemps, which was located in the same location as Office Team. Plaintiff claims that Munn asked Plaintiff to call back in two weeks, but that when she called back she was told that she had to leave a message for "Emily." Plaintiff called back a week later and was told to leave a message for "Kara." Plaintiff called back the next week and left a message for Munn. None of these employees of Office Team answered or returned Plaintiff's phone calls. ECF No. 10 at 11, 19-21.

Plaintiff alleges that on July 26, 2013, she had an interview with Mr. Halder (African-American male) at Defendant Accountemps. Plaintiff asserts that Accountemps offers jobs to applicants in accounting, that she has experience in accounting, and she gave Halder her resume. Halder asked Plaintiff if she could "do [a] WEB designing job?" Plaintiff answered, "[y]es I could. I would have to study a little bit." Halder asked Plaintiff to redo her resume and cover letter, which Plaintiff did, but when she tried to email it to Halder, his email address "did not work." Plaintiff asked Munn to forward Plaintiff's resume and cover letter to Halder. Plaintiff attempted to call Halder and was told he no longer worked for Accountemps. ECF No. 10 at 11, 21-22.

Plaintiff alleges she gave her resume to Philpot (white male) at Adecco on February 1, 2013. Philpot said he might have something and would call Plaintiff. However, Plaintiff never received any phone call and her calls to Philpot went unanswered. Plaintiff went to the Adecco office after two months and Philpot said he did not have a job for Plaintiff and asked Plaintiff to call ...

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