United States District Court, S.D. Florida
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Plaintiff, & Louise Davidson-Schmich, Plaintiff Intervenor,
University of Miami, Defendant.
ORDER ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS
N. SCOLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are the Defendant University of Miami's
motion to dismiss the complaint (ECF No. 12) and its motion
to dismiss the intervenor's complaint (ECF No. 15). For
the reasons set forth below, both motions to dismiss
(ECF Nos. 12, 15) are
EEOC filed suit against the University of Miami
(“UM”), alleging that the university pays a
female professor, Louis Davidson-Schmich, less than her male
counterpart in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
and the Equal Pay Act. (ECF No. 1.) The professor filed an
intervenor complaint containing the same claims and
nearly-identical allegations. (ECF No. 13.)
Davidson-Schmich and Gregory Kroger are both faculty at UM, a
private research university, in the political science
department. (ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 17, 19-20.) At UM,
faculty are ranked as follows (from lowest to highest):
lecturer, senior lecturer, assistant professor, associate
professor, and full professor. (Id. at ¶ 21.)
hired Davidson-Schmich as a first-year assistant professor in
August 2000 and paid her a salary of $50, 000. (Id.
at ¶ 23.) After she worked as an assistant professor for
six years, UM awarded her tenure and promoted her to an
associate professor in the spring or summer of 2007.
(Id. at ¶¶ 24-25.) Her pay increased to
$72, 500. (Id. ¶ at 26.) UM hired Kroger as an
assistant professor in the spring or summer of 2007 and paid
him a salary of $81, 000. (Id. at ¶ 29.) At the
time he was hired in 2007, Kroger had already acquired four
years of experience teaching at the University of Montana.
(Id. at ¶ 28.) The complaint alleges that
Davidson-Schmich published more material than Kroger.
Davidson-Schmich had published a book by 2007, and Kroger did
not publish one until 2010. Davidson-Schmich published more
articles than Kroger. (Id. at ¶¶ 30-31.)
December 2016, both Davidson-Schmich and Kroger were
evaluated for a promotion to full professor based on the same
qualification standards. (Id. at ¶¶
33-34.) The committee recommended both candidates for
promotion to full professor with a 5-0 committee vote.
(Id. at ¶ 35.) Both professors received above
average ratings for their teaching. (Id. at ¶
earned $112, 400 for the 2017-2018 academic year.
(Id. at ¶ 51.) In May of 2018, Davidson-Schmich
learned that UM paid Kroger $137, 366 for the 2017-2018
academic year via an email inadvertently sent to her.
(Id. at ¶ 51.) On June 4, 2018,
Davidson-Schmich filed a charge of discrimination with the
EEOC, complaining that she made almost $25, 000 less than her
male counterpart. The EEOC issued a Letter of Determination,
finding reasonable cause to believe that the EPA and Title
VII were violated on March 5, 2019, and, after failing to
secure a conciliation agreement, filed suit on July 29, 2019.
(Id. at ¶14-15.)
considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all of the
complaint's allegations as true, construing them in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. Pielage v.
McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008). A
pleading need only contain “a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[T]he pleading
standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual
allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quotation omitted). A plaintiff must articulate
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Id. Thus, a pleading that offers
mere “labels and conclusions” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” will not survive dismissal. See
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “Rule 8 marks a notable
and generous departure from the hyper-technical,
code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it does not unlock
the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing
more than conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
where the allegations “possess enough heft” to
suggest a plausible entitlement to relief, the case may
proceed. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557. “[T]he
standard ‘simply calls for enough fact to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence' of the required element.” Rivell v.
Private Health Care Sys., Inc., 520 F.3d 1308, 1309
(11th Cir. 2008). “And, of course, a well-pleaded
complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that
actual proof of those facts is improbable, and ‘that a
recovery is very remote and unlikely.'”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
order to make out an Equal Pay Act claim, a plaintiff must
allege that “an employer pays different wages to
employees of opposite sexes for equal work on jobs the
performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and
responsibility, and which are performed under similar working
conditions.” Corning Glass Works v. Brennan,
417 U.S. 188, 195 (1974). While an Equal Pay Act complaint
“need not allege facts establishing each element of a
prima facie case of discrimination to survive a motion to
dismiss, it must at a minimum assert nonconclusory factual
matter sufficient to nudge its claims across the line from
conceivable to plausible to proceed.” EEOC v. Port
Authority of NY and NJ, 768 F.3d 247, 254 (2d Cir. 2014)
(citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680.) The EEOC and
Davidson-Schmich (collectively “Plaintiffs”) have
alleged that Davidson-Schmich is paid nearly $25, 000 less