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Anderson v. Greenville Health System

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

August 12, 2015

Rufus Julius Cornelius Anderson, Plaintiff,
Greenville Health System; South Carolina Dept. of Employment and Workforce; and South Carolina Dept. of Probation and Parole, Defendants.


JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

Rufus Julius Cornelius Anderson ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, brings this civil action alleging unlawful employment discrimination. Plaintiff is a non-prisoner, and he files this action in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Complaint is subject to summary dismissal.


From the Complaint and answers to the Court's special interrogatories, the Court gleans the following alleged relevant factual allegations.[1] Plaintiff's former employer was the Greenville Health System ("GHS"). [Doc. 12 at 1.] On June 1, 2009, Plaintiff called the GHS compliance hotline to report that he was working in a hostile environment, specifically management was harassing employees because of their disabilities and the "FMLA." [Doc. 1; Doc. 12-1.] Plaintiff also reported that his supervisor was harassing him because he had requested FMLA leave time due to his wife's pregnancy, had been assigned to work in two departments, and wrote him up for old infractions. [Doc. 12-1.] In May of 2009, Plaintiff also complained to the department director Adrian Corbett that Plaintiff's department had been without a director for almost one year, and Corbett told Plaintiff if he did not stop with the conspiracies he would terminate his job. [ Id. ] On July 1, 2009, GHS terminated Plaintiff's employment. [Doc. 1.]

On July 15, 2009, Plaintiff entered Defendants' statutory grievance phase. [ Id. ] On July 30, 2009, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Defendant that he believed its activities were unlawful. [ Id. ] On or about September 22, 2009, "Plaintiff was retaliated against being informed he could no longer pursue his rights through the grievance channel." [ Id. ] On or about October 14, 2009, GHS denied Plaintiff's request to be rehired. [ Id. ]

Plaintiff submitted the following charges or documents to the EEOC: a complaint on November 30, 2009; a request for reconsideration with the EEO on or about November 30, 2010; a charge on March 28, 2011; a charge on July 10, 2013; and, a complaint on June 10, 2014, asserting the same matter and that it was "casually connected" to the March 28, 2011, charge. [Doc. 1; Doc. 12-1.] He alleges that the EEOC failed to respond to certain charges and also that the EEOC has dismissed his claims. [Doc. 12-1.] He seems to allege he has 300 days to file from the last action, and he has requested fact finding hearings and reconsideration on November 6, 2014, February 23, 2015, March 16, 2015, April 10, 2015, and June 16, 2015. [ Id. ]

Plaintiff alleges other acts of unlawful retaliation: on or about August 18, 2009, he was evicted from his home; on or about December 7, 2010, he was assaulted during a car accident; on or about December 24, 2010, Defendants instigated a criminal larceny charge against him for failure to return rented objects resulting in 102 days of jail time; on July 22, 2011, Defendants instigated a violation of Plaintiff's probation resulting in 120 days of jail time. [Doc. 1.]

Plaintiff may be suing the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce because it refused to provide him certain unemployment benefits. [Doc. 12 at 2.] He alleges he filed for "UI benefits" on or about July 19, 2009, and the UI determination was mailed on September 1, 2009, after he had been evicted from his residence. [ Id. ] On or about November 2, 2009, Plaintiff attempted to appeal the UI decision, and on or about February 12, 2010, he received the decision affirming the UI adjudicator's decision "and loss of 8 weeks." [ Id. ]

Plaintiff may be suing the South Carolina Department of Probation and Parole Board because it issued a warrant on June 22, 2011, against him for violation of probation. [Doc. 12-1.] He was held for 120 days for a violation of probation. [Doc. 1.]

Based on these facts, Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). [Doc. 12-1.] Liberally construed, Plaintiff seeks the following relief: damages for employment discrimination; damages for time spent in jail; damages for mental anguish; and an order to stop the retaliation by Defendants. [Doc. 1 at 5.]


Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) DSC, the undersigned is authorized to review the Complaint for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " is "frivolous or malicious, " or "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). As a pro se litigant, Plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam ). However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading remains subject to summary dismissal. The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which Plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a petition to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999), or construct Plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993), or "conjure up questions never squarely presented" to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). 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 cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).


A plaintiff may bring a retaliation claim pursuant to the ADA by proving: he engaged in protected conduct; he suffered an adverse action; and a causal link exists between the protected conduct and the adverse action. Reynold v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross, 701 F.3d 143, 154 (4th Cir. 2012). A plaintiff is not required to prove the conduct he opposed was a violation of the ADA, but he must show that he had a good faith belief the conduct violated the ADA. Id. Plaintiff attempts to allege a claim for retaliation in violation of the ADA because, liberally construed, he alleges he reported to GHS that management was harassing ...

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