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Anderson v. Greenville Health System

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

October 14, 2016

Rufus Julius Cornelius Anderson, a/k/a Rufus Julius C. Anderson, a/k/a Rufus J. Anderson, Plaintiff,
v.
Greenville Health System, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Jacquelyn D. Austin United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant [Doc. 27] and motions to strike and for issuance of subpoenas filed by Plaintiff [Docs. 34, 45, 53]. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases filed by individuals proceeding pro se and to submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.

         Plaintiff filed this action on April 1, 2016, alleging retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). [Doc. 1.] On April 27, 2016, Plaintiff's complaint for employment discrimination and attachments were filed as attachments to the original Complaint. [Docs. 1-1-1-4.] On June 15, 2016, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 27.] Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on June 29, 2016 [Doc. 36] and additional attachments on August 29, 2016 [Doc. 62]. Additionally, on June 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion to strike Defendant's motion to dismiss. [Doc. 34.] Defendant filed a response in opposition on July 15, 2016 [Doc. 38], and Plaintiff filed a reply on August 11, 2016 [Doc. 52]. Plaintiff filed motions for issuance of subpoenas on August 8, 2016, and August 16, 2016. [Docs. 45, 53.] All motions are ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges he called a compliance hotline on June 2, 2009, with reason to believe he was subjected to a hostile work environment and also reported harassment of other disabled employees. [Doc. 1-1 at 6.] His employment was then terminated on July 1, 2009. [Doc. 1-2.] He was evicted on August 18, 2009, denied the right to pursue a grievance on September 22, 2009, and denied rehire on October 14, 2009. [Id.] Plaintiff alleges he was assaulted while engaged in protected activity on December 7, 2010, and charged with larceny failure to return rental object on December 10, 2010.[1] [Id.] Plaintiff appears to allege he was charged with a probation violation on July 22, 2011. [Id.] He filed a lawsuit alleging employment discrimination on June 26, 2015 [Doc. 1 at 5], and was arrested on July 23, 2015 [Doc. 1-2]. He alleges all of these acts amounted to unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII and the ADA. [Id.]

         Plaintiff attached to his Complaint a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), dated March 3, 2016, outlining Plaintiff's filings with the EEOC as of that date. [Doc. 1-3.] According to the letter, Plaintiff filed the following charges with the EEOC:

Date Filed

Allegations

Disposition

November 30, 2009 (EEOC Charge No. 436-2010-00192)

Plaintiff was subjected to disparate discipline and assignment, termination, and denied rehire due to his race, religion, and sex, and in retaliation for engaging in protected activity in violation of Title VII

Dismissal and notice of rights issued on August 30, 2010; request for reconsideration denied on November 10, 2010

March 7, 2011 (EEOC Charge No. 436-2011-00472)

Plaintiff was subjected to disparate terms and conditions of employment when he was assaulted by a vehicle, his mail was tampered with, and he was cited for a criminal probation violation due to his religion and in retaliation for having engaged in protected activity in 2009 in violation of Title VII

Dismissal and notice of rights issued on June 13, 2011

August 13, 2013 (EEOC Charge No. 436-2013-00874)

Plaintiff's June 19, 2013 incarceration was in retaliation for complaining to Defendant on September 22, 2009 that its activities were unlawful in violation of Title VII

Dismissal and notice of rights issued on August 20, 2013

November 25, 2013 (EEOC Charge No. 436-2014-00159)

Plaintiff was denied rehire in October 2009 in retaliation for engaging in protected activity in violation of Title VII

Dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on February 14, 2014 because it was filed well beyond the 300 day period to file a timely charge

May 29, 2014 (EEOC Charge No. 436-2014-00686)

Plaintiff was subjected to retaliation since his 2009 termination in violation of the ADA

Dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on July 10, 2014 because it was filed after the time period required for filing a timely charge

[Id. at 1-2.] Plaintiff subsequently filed three additional inquiries with the EEOC-EEOC Nos. 436-2015-00156N, 436-2015-01175N, and 436-2016-00497N-though they were not formalized as charges because the EEOC lacked jurisdiction to file them as charges and investigate them. [Id. at 2.] In the last inquiry, EEOC No. 436-2016-00497N, Plaintiff alleged he had been subjected to retaliation since his 2009 termination; the EEOC counseled Plaintiff that if he insisted on filing a charge based on this inquiry, the EEOC would dismiss it because the allegations were untimely. [Id.] On March 25, 2016, the EEOC issued a dismissal and notice of rights to Plaintiff related to EEOC Charge No. 436-2016-00497 (“the 497 Charge”).[2] [Doc. 1-4.]

         APPLICABLE LAW

         Liberal Construction of Pro Se Complaint

         Plaintiff brought this action pro se, which requires the Court to liberally construe his pleadings. Estelle, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Haines, 404 U.S. at 520. Even under this less stringent standard, however, a pro se complaint is still subject to summary dismissal. Id. at 520-21. The mandated liberal construction means that only if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the complainant could prevail, it should do so. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court may not construct the complainant's legal arguments for him. Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993). Nor should a court “conjure up questions never squarely presented.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         Motion to Dismiss Standards

         Rule 12(b)(1)

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) examines whether the complaint fails to state facts upon which jurisdiction can be founded. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). It is the plaintiff's burden to prove jurisdiction, and the court is to “regard the pleadings' allegations as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment.” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). To resolve a jurisdictional challenge under Rule 12(b)(1), the court may consider undisputed facts and any jurisdictional facts that it determines. See Id. The court may dismiss a case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on any of the following bases: “‘(1) the complaint alone; (2) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or (3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of disputed facts.'” Johnson v. United States, 534 F.3d 958, 962 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 413 (5th Cir. 1981)).

         Rule 12(b)(6)

         Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim should not be granted unless it appears certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would support her claim and entitle her to relief. When considering a motion to dismiss, the court should “accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). However, the court “need not accept the legal conclusions drawn from the facts” nor “accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Eastern Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). Further, for purposes of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may rely on only the complaint's allegations and those documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference. See Simons v. ...


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