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Dickerson v. Albemarle Corporation

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division

January 21, 2016

Minnie Dickerson, Plaintiff,
v.
Albemarle Corporation; CB&I Maintenance, Inc., f/k/a Shaw Maintenance, Incorporated, Defendants.

ORDER

MICHELLE CHILDS, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Minnie Dickerson filed this action seeking actual and punitive damages against Defendants Albemarle Corporation ("Albemarle") and CB&I Maintenance, Incorporated ("CB&I"). (ECF No. 38.) Plaintiff's request for damages is grounded in four causes of action against Defendant: 1) defamation of character, slander, and libel, 2) wrongful termination of employment, 3) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and 4) negligence.

II. JURISDICTION

Defendants properly removed this matter to federal court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) (2012) ("Any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the... defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending."). Because the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional requirement and because the citizens in this action are of different states, this court has original subject matter jurisdiction. See id. § 1332.[1]

III. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff resides in Bamberg County, South Carolina. (Amend. Compl. ¶ 1.) She was employed from April 2008 until March 2012, as a supervisor at the Albemarle plant, where she provided janitorial services under a contract Defendant Shaw (CB&I) received. (Amend. Compl. ¶ 5.) Essentially, Plaintiff alleges that she witnessed "unprofessional conduct of a sexual nature by co-workers" while performing her job duties, and she reported the conduct to her supervisors. ( Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff claims that in retaliation for her reporting this conduct, co-workers and supervisors "falsely alleged that Plaintiff made unwanted sexual advances to a co-worker, " ( Id. ¶ 10), and, more generally, that she was "harassed by her supervisors" between March 9, 2012 and March 21, 2012. ( Id. ¶ 9.)

On August 7, 2015, this court granted Plaintiff's request for leave to amend her original Complaint. (ECF No. 34.) Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint against Defendants on September 1, 2015. (ECF No. 38.) This matter is before the court on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 42, 43).

IV. LEGAL STANDARDS AND ARGUMENTS

A. Motion to Dismiss

A Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted "challenges the legal sufficiency of a complaint." Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted); see also Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) ("A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)... does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses."). To be legally sufficient, a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion should not be granted unless it appears certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts that would support her claim and would entitle her to relief. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Ostrzenski v. Seigel, 177 F.3d 245, 251 (4th Cir. 1999); Mylan Labs., Inc., 7 F.3d at 1134. "To survive a motion to dismiss, 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, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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.

V. ANALYSIS

A. Defendant Albemarle's Motion to Dismiss ...


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