United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Tanya Rodgers, pro se, sues the Harrison Board of Education
and the Assistant Superintendent of Harrison Schools,
alleging discriminatory employment actions. Defendants filed
a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a
claim. Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted.
Rodgers, a resident of New York, alleges that the Harrison
Board of Education ("Harrison BOE") and James P.
Doran, the Assistant Superintendent of Harrison Schools,
discriminated against her on the basis of race and color.
(Compl. at 1-2, 4). Here are the facts pled in the Complaint,
in their entirety:
In May of 2015 I applied for a substitute teacher position
with the Defendant, Harrison Board of Education. Assignments
were directed via the Assistant Superintendent James Doran.
On December 8, 2016 I was terminated without cause. That an
investigation was taking place regarding allegations that I
used my mobile phone and would be contacted. To date,
I've made multiple telephone calls to Mr. Doran's
office regarding his "investigation" and status of
my release. I have yet to receive a written or oral reply or
explanation regarding my employment. The Substitute Teacher
Handbook Policy on termination cites and invokes a 3 strike
you're out rule. I never well received a verbal or
written notification warning or otherwise with respect to my
performance etc. Mr. Doran did tell me that [sic]
[Compl. § III.E at p. 5]
Rodgers filed a complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC issued
Ms. Rodgers a right-to-sue letter on April 28, 2017. (ECF No.
1-3). Ms. Rodgers then filed suit in this court on July 17,
2017, within 90 days of receipt of notice. (Compl; ECF No.
Rodgers asserts claims of discrimination on the basis of race
and color in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2OOOe et seq. ("Title
VII"), and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
("NJLAD"), N.J. Stat. Ann. § 10:5-12. (Compl.
at 3). The discriminatory conduct alleged is termination of
employment, failure to promote, unequal terms and conditions
of employment, and retaliation. (Compl. at 4).
before the court is the defendants' motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of a complaint, in whole or in part, if it fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party
bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated.
Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir.
2005). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a
court must take all allegations in the complaint as true and
view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Worth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975);
Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v.
Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998);
see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) does not require that a
complaint contain detailed factual allegations. Nevertheless,
"a plaintiffs obligation to provide the
'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do."
BellAtl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a
plaintiffs right to relief above a speculative level, such
that it is "plausible on its face." See
Id. at 570; see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Serv.,
Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While
"[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a
'probability requirement'... it asks for more than a
sheer possibility." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
explicated the Twombly/Iqbal standard on several
occasions. See, e.g., Argueta v. U.S. Immigration &
Customs Enforcement, 643 F.3d 60, 70-73 (3d Cir. 2011);
Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 129-30
(3d Cir. 2010). In doing so, it has provided a three-step
process for evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion:
To determine whether a complaint meets the pleading standard,
our analysis unfolds in three steps. First, we outline the
elements a plaintiff must plead to a state a claim for
relief. See [Iqbal, 556 U.S.] at 675;
Argueta, 643 F.3d at 73. Next, we peel away those
allegations that are no more than conclusions and thus not
entitled to the assumption of truth. See Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679; Argueta, 643 F.3d at 73. Finally, we
look for well-pled factual allegations, assume their
veracity, and then "determine whether they plausibly
give rise to an entitlement to relief." Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679; Argueta, 643 F.3d at 73. This last