United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant LP Port Charlotte,
LLC's Partial Motion to Dismiss or to Compel Arbitration
(Doc. 46) filed on October 13, 2017. Plaintiff Marie
Gerda Jean has not filed a response, and the time to do so
has expired. This matter is ripe for review.
action arises from Plaintiff's desire to enforce an
arbitration award and allegations of discrimination and
retaliation stemming from her employment with Defendant.
(Doc. 43). Plaintiff first sued Defendant in Florida
state court for breach of contract, discrimination, and
retaliation. (Doc. 2). Defendant subsequently
removed the case on the basis of federal question. (Doc.
1). Since removal, the Court has twice dismissed
Plaintiff's prior complaints without prejudice.
(Docs. 36; 42). Now, in Plaintiff's
Third Amended Complaint (the “Complaint”),
Plaintiff seeks to confirm and enforce the arbitration award
pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (the
“FAA”) and alleges employment discrimination and
retaliation under both the Florida Civil Rights Act and Title
VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. (Doc. 43 at
the Court can discern, these are the pertinent facts. The
parties previously arbitrated an employment discrimination
claim related to a prior termination. (Doc. 43 at ¶
3). The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Plaintiff and
ordered Defendant to rehire her under certain conditions.
(Doc. 43 at ¶ 4). Plaintiff returned to work,
but now claims that Defendant discriminated and retaliated
against her again. (Doc. 43). She alleges issues
related to pay discrepancy, unwarranted verbal and written
complaints, increased workload despite a work related injury,
and other difficulties. (Doc. 43).
moves for partial dismissal for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, or alternatively, to compel
arbitration of Plaintiff's claims. (Doc. 46 at
1). After careful review, the Court finds that
Plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation claims under
Title VII are insufficient and must be dismissed with
prejudice. In light of these dismissals, the Court need not
address Defendant's other arguments because federal
jurisdiction no longer exists, and the Court declines to
exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's remaining claims
and remands them to state court.
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and view them in
a light most favorable to the plaintiff. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Yet
this standard of review does not necessarily permit all
factual pleadings to survive to the next stage of litigation.
Rather, a district court should dismiss a claim where a party
fails to plead facts that make the claim facially plausible.
See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible when, based on
the facts pled, the court can draw a reasonable inference
that the opposing party is liable for the alleged misconduct.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The
plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully."
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557
(internal quotation marks omitted)). “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Where a plaintiff has not “nudged their claims across
the line from conceivable to plausible, their complaint must
be dismissed.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
start, the Court will address Plaintiff's Title VII
employment discrimination claim. Title VII makes it unlawful
for an employer “to discriminate against any individual
. . . because of such individual's race, color, sex, or
national origin . . . .” 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-2. After a careful review, the Court finds
Plaintiff's claim insufficient. Plaintiff's claim,
which contains only two conclusory paragraphs, alleges that
Plaintiff's race, religion, or national origin were the
“determining factor in Defendant's” alleged
adverse employment action, and that Defendant knowingly and
willingly engaged in discriminatory conduct. (Doc. 43 at
¶¶ 35-36). The allegations are conclusory and
fail to establish a plausible claim as required under the
Iqbal-Twombly standard. In fact, the claim contains
no supporting facts, much less facts that describe
Defendant's particular actions that constitute
discriminatory conduct. Therefore, Plaintiff's Title VII
claim for employment discrimination is dismissed. And because
this is Plaintiff's third attempt at pleading the claim
and she has not responded to Defendant's Motion or
requested a chance to amend, the Court dismisses the claim
to Plaintiff's Title VII retaliation claim, the Court
also finds this claim deficient. “Retaliation under
Title VII occurs when an employee engages in protected
activity, and suffers an adverse action that is causally
related to that activity.” Uppal v. Hospital Corp.
of America, 482 F. App'x. 394, 397 (11th Cir. 2012).
To establish a prima facie case of retaliation,
“a plaintiff must show that (1) she engaged in
statutorily protected expression; (2) she suffered an adverse
employment action; and (3) the adverse action was causally
related to the protected expression.” Wideman v.
Wal-Mart Stores, 141 F.3d 1453, 1454 (11th Cir. 1998).
Plaintiff's Title VII retaliation claim incorporates
Plaintiff's state law claim for retaliation, and the
insufficient federal discrimination claim. (Doc. 43 at
¶ 37). The claim is vague, conclusory, and wholly
deficient. And the incorporation of preceding claims, which
are also poorly pled, creates confusion and highlights the
insufficiency of the retaliation claim. In particular,
Plaintiff alleges that Alicia Lenfest, Defendant's
director of rehabilitation, retaliated against Plaintiff by
giving her a negative work evaluation, assigning her a
regular work schedule despite an agreement requiring a
“modified work” schedule, and testifying to
attempting to get Plaintiff fired. (Doc. 43 at
¶¶ 31-34). But Plaintiff's allegations
simply do not rise to the level required under the
factual allegations that are contained within the claim only
create confusion. The Court cannot easily distinguish when
some events took place, how they fit within the allegations
Plaintiff is making, or why the alleged retaliatory actions
were made against Plaintiff. Plaintiff makes no effort to
allege specifically why or how there was retaliation, instead
expecting the Court and Defendant to discern such details
from an almost indecipherable Complaint. At bottom,
Plaintiff's Title VII retaliation claim does not pass
muster. Like Plaintiff's Title VII discrimination claim
and for the same reasons, the Court dismisses the Title VII
retaliation claim with prejudice.
said, the Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's remaining claims. See28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(c)(3). The remaining claims are based on
state law or arise under the FAA, and neither the state law
claims nor the FAA claim provide an independent
jurisdictional basis. In fact, the FAA is
“‘something of an anomaly in the field of
federal-court jurisdiction' in bestowing no federal
jurisdiction but rather requiring an independent
jurisdictional basis.” Hall Street Assocs., L.L.C.
v. Mattel, Inc.,552 U.S. 576, 581-82 (2008) (quoting
Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital v. Mercury Constr.
Corp.,460 U.S. 1, 25, n. 32 (1983)). Without an