United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on review of defendant's
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #52) filed on March 19, 2019.
Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. #55) on April 3, 2019. For
the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
case arises out of the 2016 termination of Plaintiff Jason
Ifill's (Plaintiff) employment as a dump operator for
United States Sugar Corporation (U.S. Sugar). According to
the Complaint (Doc. #1): In January of 2016, Plaintiff, an
African-American, worked as a dump operator for U.S. Sugar in
Clewiston, Florida. (Id. ¶ 18.) In or about
January of 2016, Plaintiff complained that T. J. Graham
(Graham), Plaintiff's white supervisor, was
“gossiping” about Plaintiff's
divorce. (Id. ¶ 19.) On January 25,
2016, Graham confronted Plaintiff about his complaint and
threatened to have Plaintiff fired if he filed a formal
complaint with Human Resources. (Id. ¶¶
20, 21.) After that confrontation, Plaintiff informed Human
Resources about Graham's “intimidating
behavior” and expressed to Human Resources that
“he did not feel safe around” Graham.
(Id. ¶ 22.)
February 1, 2016, Human Resources requested a meeting with
Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 23.) At the meeting, a group
of four white persons questioned Plaintiff “about his
divorce, whether he was resigning, and whether he was moving,
” but did not question Plaintiff about Graham's
behavior. (Id. ¶¶ 23, 24.) The Local Lodge
57 union steward “passive[ly] participat[ed]” in
the meeting. (Id. ¶ 37.) Human Resources also
“informed [Plaintiff] that he was eligible for three
weeks of vacation and suggested that he take [the full three
weeks]” to de-escalate the situation. (Id.
¶ 25.) Plaintiff ultimately took the three weeks of
on vacation, Plaintiff “received a letter, dated
February 2 . . . informing him that he had been
terminated.” (Id. ¶ 26.) The letter
asserted that Plaintiff was a “no-call, no-show
employee for three days prior” to the February 1, 2016
meeting with Human Resources. (Id.) On December 21,
2016, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination against
Local Lodge 57 with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (the EEOC). (Id. ¶ 9.) This lawsuit
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a Complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This obligation “requires more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citation omitted). To survive dismissal, the factual
allegations must be “plausible” and “must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. at 555. See also Edwards v.
Prime Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010). This
requires “more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and
take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007), but
“[l]egal conclusions without adequate factual support
are entitled to no assumption of truth, ” Mamani v.
Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Factual allegations
that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability
fall short of being facially plausible.” Chaparro
v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2012)
(citations omitted). Thus, the Court engages in a two-step
approach: “When there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
asserts claims against Local Lodge 57 for race discrimination
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(Count IV), race discrimination in violation of the Florida
Civil Rights Act of 1992 (Count V), and race discrimination
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count VI). Local Lodge 57
now moves to dismiss these claims because (1) Plaintiff
failed to timely exhaust all administrative remedies before
filing Counts IV and V; and (2) Plaintiff otherwise failed to
state a legally sufficient cause of action against Local
Whether Plaintiff Failed to Timely Exhaust Administrative
Remedies Before Filing Counts IV and V
a plaintiff may file suit under Title VII, he must first
exhaust certain administrative remedies. Wilkerson v.
Grinnell Corp.,270 F.3d 1314, 1317 (11th Cir.
2001)(citation omitted). This process “is initiated by
timely filing a charge of discrimination.” E.E.O.C.
v. Joe's Stone Crabs, Inc.,296 F.3d 1265, 1271
(11th Cir. 2002)(citation omitted). To be timely “in a
deferral state such as Florida, [the charge of
discrimination] must be filed within 300 days of the last
discriminatory act.” Id. (citing 42 U.S.C.