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Featherstone v. AT&T

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division

September 24, 2019

AT&T, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Jammie Featherstone, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brought this case complaining of various incidents that allegedly took place while she worked for the Defendants. Defendants have moved to dismiss (ECF Doc. 25) Plaintiff's second amended complaint, and Plaintiff responded in opposition (ECF Doc. 27). Defendants' motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and N.D. Fla. Loc. R. 72.2(E). Considering the parties' submissions and the relevant law, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF Doc. 25) be GRANTED as to Counts 1 and 2 of Plaintiff's second amended and DENIED as to Count 3, solely as it relates to Defendant AT&T.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a resident of Samson, Alabama. ECF Doc. 10 at 3. Her second amended complaint names seven (7) Defendants: AT&T, DirecTV, iQor, Kayleigh White, Stephanie Miller, Missy Dalrymple and Sentry Insurance Company (“Sentry”). Id. at 1-4. Plaintiff indicates White, Miller and Dalrymple are iQor employees, and Sentry is the insurer for AT&T, DirecTV and iQor. Id. The second amended complaint sets forth factual allegations in three (3) separate counts, the truth of which are accepted for purposes of this Report and Recommendation.

         In Count 1, Plaintiff alleges she was an employee of AT&T in Crestview, Florida. Id. at 5. “While in training Plaintiff was not given proper training equipment to prepare her for her position in the call center and she was locked out of the training programs.” Id. “Plaintiff was constantly accused of stealing equipment and training materials.” Id. Her instructor, Defendant Miller “set the stage for ‘extortion' and ‘black mail' when she told Plaintiff she had to make payments for the stolen equipment and training materials.” Id. “Miller took over $200.00 from Plaintiff against her will, to keep [Defendant Dalrymple] from reporting the above . . . items stolen to the Sheriffs' Department.” Id. “A few days later[, ] Plaintiff had to give another $200.00 to [Defendant White] for failing two unlawful lie detector test[s].” Dalrymple subsequently threatened to have Plaintiff arrested if she did not pay another $200. Id. Plaintiff claims Miller, White and Dalrymple's demands for money and threats “were wrong, ” “had no basis in fact” and violated Fla. Stat. §§ 796.09 and 836.05. Id. at 6.

         In Count 2, Plaintiff alleges White told her that if she denied the theft of training materials, she would be terminated as untrustworthy. Id. at 7. Plaintiff signed a confession “under protest” indicating she had stolen computers and other materials. Id. Plaintiff requested a copy of the signed confession but “never received one.” Id. White told Plaintiff “not to worry as it would not be held against Plaintiff” and “other employees had signed confessions and [they] had not been fired.” Id.

         White “dictated [the] confession and Plaintiff handwrote the document.” Id. White administered two polygraph tests. Id. After the first test, White advised Plaintiff she had failed. Id. Plaintiff asked White “to take a second test as she had not been at AT&T long enough to do all this stealing.” Id. White “agreed that . . . Miller believed that there had been much more than a few thousand dollars of computers and materials taken.” Id. White directed Plaintiff “to sign a [second] confession for a higher amount, without ‘signing under protest.'” Id. After White dictated a new confession, Plaintiff “signed the statement stating she had taken thousands of dollars.” Id. White gave Plaintiff the second polygraph test and told Plaintiff she failed. Id. White subsequently “started to accuse Plaintiff of sleeping on her unpaid lunch break.” Id. On November 1, 2017, Plaintiff reported her accident in the parking lot (discussed in Count 3) and was fired the next day. Id. at 8. As to Count 2, plaintiff “demands judgment for treble damages against defendants and punitive damages in accordance with Florida Statutes 784(a) and (b), 817 and 836.” Id.

         In Count 3, Plaintiff alleges AT&T owned and negligently maintained the parking lot at its call center in Crestview, Florida. Id. Plaintiff asserts AT&T allowed depressions to develop on the surface of the lot and did not install proper lighting. Id. On October 31, 2017, Plaintiff stepped in a depression, fell and hit her head on a concrete parking divider. Id. She injured the right side of her head, her right leg and damaged her car. Id. She filed a workers' compensation claim concerning the incident, but it was denied on November 20, 2017, “under a ‘coming and going Rule.'” Id. at 9.

         In the “Relief Requested” section of the second amended complaint, Plaintiff indicates she seeks: (1) reinstatement; (2) replacement of her damaged vehicle; (3) “full pay for time lost due to harassment, coercion, extortion, blackmail payments and intimidation”; (4) “payment for medical bills due to negligence of defendants and not maintain[ing the] parking lot”; (5) $300, 000 for pain and suffering; (6) “triple damages due to acts of extortion, harassment, blackmail payments and intimidation”; and (7) punitive damages of $70, 000, 000. Id. at 11.


         In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court reads a pro se plaintiff's allegations in a liberal fashion, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), and accepts “[a]ll well-pleaded facts in plaintiff's complaint and all reasonable inferences drawn from those facts . . . as true.” McGinley v. Houston, 361 F.3d 1328, 1330 (11th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). “There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as where the facts alleged are internally inconsistent or where they run counter to facts of which the court can take judicial notice.” Ellen S. v. Fla. Bd. of Bar Exam'rs, 859 F.Supp. 1489, 1492 (S.D. Fla. 1994) (citation omitted). Further, mere “labels and conclusions” are not accepted as true. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)) (noting courts “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation”); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 680-81 (2009) (explaining that conclusory allegations are not entitled to a presumption of truth); Associated Builders, Inc. v. Ala. Power Co., 505 F.2d 97, 100 (5th Cir. 1974) (“unwarranted deductions of fact are not admitted as true”).

         As the Supreme Court reiterated in Iqbal, although Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require detailed factual allegations, it does demand “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint must state a plausible claim for relief, and “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The mere possibility the defendant acted unlawfully is insufficient to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim. Id. The complaint must include “[f]actual allegations . . . [sufficient] to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, or, “nudge[] the[] claim[] across the line from conceivable to plausible . . ..” Id. at 570.


         A. Co ...

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