United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Garrison, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
Integrity Funding Ohio LLC, Defendant, represented by James
T. Hedgepath, Nexsen Pruet.
Adams, Defendant, represented by James T. Hedgepath, Nexsen
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDONALD, Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court on the defendants' motion to
dismiss defendant Adams from this action (doc. 28). Pursuant
to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section
636(b)(1)(A), and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g) (D.S.C.),
this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial
matters in employment discrimination cases and submit
findings and recommendations to the district court.
plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, alleges in her
complaint that defendant Integrity Funding of Ohio
("Integrity"),  which is her former employer, and
defendant Jason Adams, her former manager, "refused to
allow [her] reasonable accommodations as required by law in
order to receive treatment for breast cancer and return to
work" (doc. 1 at 4). The plaintiff alleges that she
timely filed a charge, and she received a right to sue letter
from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC") on November 3, 2015 ( id. ).
9, 2016, the defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss
defendant Adams (doc. 28). Pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the plaintiff
was advised of the motion to dismiss procedure and the
possible consequences if she failed to respond adequately
(doc. 30). The plaintiff filed her response in opposition to
the motion on June 13, 2016 (doc. 32).
LAW AND ANALYSIS
purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to test the sufficiency
of a complaint.'" Williams v. Preiss-Wal Pat
III, LLC, 17 F.Supp. 3d 528, 531 (D.S.C. 2014) (quoting
Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th
Cir. 1999)). Rule 8(a) sets forth a liberal pleading
standard, which requires only a "short and plain
statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to
relief, ' in order to give the defendant fair notice of
what... the claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "[T]he facts alleged must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level' and must provide enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'" Robinson
v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 551 F.3d 218, 222
(4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555,
569). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a
probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
complaint "does not need [to allege] detailed factual
allegations, " pleadings that contain mere "labels
and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. "Where a complaint
pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks
omitted). Stated differently, "where the well-pleaded
facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it
has not show [n]'-that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). When determining a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6), the court must take all well-pled material
allegations of the complaint as admitted and view them in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. De Sole v.
U.S., 947 F.2d 1169, 1171 (4th Cir. 1991) (citing
Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969)). The
court must liberally construe pro se complaints to
allow the development of a potentially meritorious case,
Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980), and such
pro se complaints are held to a less stringent
standard than those drafted by attorneys. Gordon v.
Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir.1978).
the plaintiff does not expressly identify the Americans with
Disabilities Act ("ADA") by name in her complaint,
it is clear that the plaintiff is attempting to assert a
cause of action under the ADA against both defendants. The
defendants argue in their motion that defendant Adams should
be dismissed from this action because it is well-settled in
the Fourth Circuit that the ADA does not establish individual
liability for co-workers or supervisors. The undersigned
agrees. In Baird v. Rose, 192 F.3d 462 (4th Cir.
1999), the Fourth Circuit noted that "[w]e have
expressly held that Title VII does not provide a remedy
against individual defendants who do not qualify as
employers.'" Id. at 472 (citing Lissau
v. Southern Food Serv., Inc., 159 F.3d 177, 180-81 (4th
Cir. 1998) ("holding that supervisors cannot be held
liable in their individual capacity under Title VII because
they do not fit within the definition of an employer")).
The court in Baird then pointed out that "Title
VII and the ADA define an employer' in pertinent part as
a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has
fifteen or more employees.'" Id. (citing 42
U.S.C. Â§ 2000e(b) & 42 U.S.C.A. Â§1 2111(5)(A)). Because Title
VII and the ADA define the term "employer" almost
identically, and because Title VII does not authorize a
remedy against individuals for violation of Title VII, the
court held that the ADA did not permit an action for
retaliation against individual defendants. Id.
Baird, numerous courts in this district and circuit
have held that the ADA does not allow a plaintiff to pursue
claims against individual defendants, such as supervisors.
See, e.g. Jones v. Sternheimer, 387 F.Appx.
366, 368 (4th Cir. 2010) (holding the ADA does "not
provide for causes of action against defendants in their
individual capacities"); Thomas v. Synter Resource
Group, LLC, C.A. No. 2:14-cv-4716-DCN-MGB, 2015 WL
9645845, at *2 (D.S.C. Dec. 7, 2015) (recommending dismissal
of ADA and Title VII claims against individual defendants),
R&R adopted by 2016 WL 54913, (Jan. 5, 2016).
response, the plaintiff "concedes that the ADA does not
establish individual liability for co-workers or
supervisors" but argues that the motion should be
dismissed because "it fails to include both defendants,
and does not take into account the facts presented in the
complaint in its entirety" (doc. 32 at 1-2). The court
has reviewed the plaintiff's complaint in its entirety,
and, liberally construing her complaint, she has alleged only
one claim against defendant Adams, that he discriminated
against her in violation of the ADA. As defendant Adams
cannot be held liable under the ADA as discussed above, he