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Ndanyi v. Aureon HR I Inc.

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

October 29, 2018

Pamila Ndanyi, Plaintiff,
v.
Aureon HR I Inc., Woodland at Furman, Bobby Kimmons, Brady Reese, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants The Woodlands at Furman, Bobby Kimmons, and Brandy Reese (“the Moving Defendants”).[1][Doc. 6.] Based on the June 24, 2017, termination from her job, Plaintiff alleges claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”), as well as other state-law claims. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(A) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g), D.S.C., all pretrial matters in employment discrimination cases are referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for consideration.

         Plaintiff filed this action in the Greenville County Court of Common Pleas. [Doc. 1-1.] On September 13, 2018, the Moving Defendants removed the case to this Court[2] and filed a motion to dismiss the action. [Docs. 1; 6.] Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on October 8, 2018. [Doc. 12.] The Moving Defendants filed a reply on October 15, 2018. [Doc. 14.] Accordingly, the motion to dismiss is ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that on June 24, 2017, Plaintiff was employed by some Defendants and that she was terminated because she had previously filed a South Carolina Workers' Compensation claim and because she had filed discrimination charges with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). [Doc. 1-1 at 4-5.]

         In their notice of removal, the Moving Defendants contended that Plaintiff's claim that she was terminated in retaliation for filing a claim with the EEOC “presumably . . . alleged violation of Title VII.” [Doc. 1 at 2.] On that basis, the Moving Defendants maintained that “this Court has federal question jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and this action may be removed to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).” [Id. at 3.] The Moving Defendants asserted that this Court should “accept supplemental jurisdiction as to [Plaintiff's] state-law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1367(a)” because those claims “form part of the same case or controversy” as the Title VII claims. [Id.]

         APPLICABLE LAW

         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 claim should be dismissed if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 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. Montgomery Cnty. Police Officers, 762 F.2d 30, 31 (4th Cir. 1985). If matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion is treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d).

         With respect to well-pleaded allegations, the United States Supreme Court explained the interplay between Rule 8(a) and Rule 12(b)(6) in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that 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.” While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the “grounds” of his “entitle[ment] to relief” requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be ...

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