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Boyce v. Ancora State Hospital

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 27, 2015



ERICA RITTENHOUSE HEYER, New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Employment Litigation Section, Trenton, NJ, Attorney for Defendant.


NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss. Because plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, defendant's motion will be granted.


Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a form complaint on January 10, 2014, alleging employment discrimination. She states the discriminatory act occurred on August 22, 2009, and that she filed charges with the N.J. Division of Civil Rights on "Monday, Nov. 2012." She states that she received the right to sue letter from the EEOC on December 12, 2013, and attached a copy of the EEOC "Dismissal and Notice of Rights". The date on the EEOC notice is unclear but appears to be "12/11/13". Plaintiff alleges that defendant engaged in discriminatory conduct with respect to her race and sex, but provides no other information.

Defendant moves to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on grounds that she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, that she failed to allege facts that could support a prima facie claim of either sex or race discrimination, and that her complaint should be dismissed for insufficiency under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. Because failure to exhaust administrative remedies is a threshold issue, the Court will address this issue first. See Devine v. St. Luke's Hosp., 406 F.Appx. 654, 656 (3d Cir. 2011) (failure to exhaust remedies is a ground to dismiss a case for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)).


Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for employment discrimination. This Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1331.


When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, "[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'" Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) ("Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for all civil actions'...."); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) ("Iqbal... provides the final nail-in-the-coffin for the no set of facts' standard that applied to federal complaints before Twombly.

Following the Twombly/Iqbal standard, the Third Circuit has provided a three-part analysis in reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). First, the Court must take note of the elements needed for plaintiff to state a claim. Santiago v. Warminster Tp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010). Second, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated; a district court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Id .; Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210 (citing Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950). Third, a district court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief. Id . A complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210; see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (stating that the "Supreme Court's Twombly formulation of the pleading standard can be summed up thus: stating... a claim requires a complaint with enough factual ...

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