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Riley v. Hardee's

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

September 24, 2018

Tonya Riley, Plaintiff,
v.
Hardee’s; Clarissa Lyles, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Tonya Riley, proceeding pro se, brings this employment discrimination action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.). Having reviewed the Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the court concludes Defendant Clarissa Lyles should be summarily dismissed without prejudice and issuance and service of process.[1]

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff indicates she was formerly employed at a local Hardee’s restaurant. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff claims the manager of that restaurant, Clarissa Lyles, made a Facebook post outing Plaintiff as a homosexual and calling Plaintiff a liar and a thief. (Id. at 2, 5.) Plaintiff also claims Lyles fired her, but the Complaint is unclear as to whether she was fired before or after the Facebook post. (Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff further claims Lyles engaged in “gay bashing” at the restaurant. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., claiming she was terminated, treated unequally, and retaliated against based on her sexual orientation and national origin.[2] (Id. at 4-5.)

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint. The Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. This statute allows a district court to dismiss the 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).

         In order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the plaintiff must do more than make mere conclusory statements. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Rather, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. The reviewing court need only accept as true the complaint’s factual allegations, not its legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         This court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints, which are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, 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); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for “all civil actions”).

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiff indicates she brings this action pursuant to Title VII. However, Title VII does not provide for individual liability in causes of action brought against employers. See Lissau v. S. Food Serv., Inc, 159 F.3d 177, 180 (4th Cir.1998) (holding that there is no individual liability under Title VII); see also Jones v. Sternheimer, 387 F. App’x 366 (4th Cir. 2010) (holding that Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA do not provide for causes of action against individuals). Because Clarissa Lyles is not an “employer” under Title VII, Lyles should be dismissed from this action for Plaintiffs failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted against her. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(2).

         III. Conclusion

         Accordingly, the court recommends that Clarissa Lyles be summarily dismissed from this action without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

         Notice of Right to File Objections to Report ...


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