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Saucier v. Mississippi Department of Corrections

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

August 30, 2013

DONALD J. SAUCIER, Plaintiff,
v.
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS' MOTION TO DISMISS, GRANTING JERRY WILLIAMS'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING JERRY WILLIAMS'S MOTION TO DISMISS AS MOOT

HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN, District Judge.

THIS MATTER COMES BEFORE THE COURT upon the Motion to Dismiss [9] filed October 26, 2012, by Defendant Mississippi Department of Corrections pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). Also before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss [11], or, in the Alternative for Summary Judgment [12] filed October 26, 2012, by Defendant Jerry Williams. To date, Donald J. Saucier has not responded to the Motions. The Court, having considered the pleadings on file and relevant legal authorities, finds that the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Mississippi Department of Corrections should be granted in part and denied in part, the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Jerry Williams should be granted, and Jerry Williams's Motion to Dismiss should be denied as moot.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Donald J. Saucier ["Plaintiff"] has been employed as a Correctional Officer with Defendant Mississippi Department of Corrections ["MDOC"] for twelve years and is over the age of forty. Defendant Jerry Williams ["Defendant Williams"] is Plaintiff's supervisor at MDOC. Compl. [1] at p. 2. According to the Complaint,

[d]uring 2009 expressed interest in the position of Correctional Supervisor and is [sic] qualified for the position. Williams was overheard saying that seniority would not be the primary factor in selecting the Correctional Supervisor. Williams selected a thirty-one year old officer with less experience and not eligible for the job given the officer's time as a Correctional Officer.

Id.

After the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ["EEOC"] issued a Right to Sue letter on June 28, 2012, Not. of Right to Sue Letter [1-2] att. as Ex. "1" to Pl.'s Compl., Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this Court on September 25, 2012, Compl. [1]. Plaintiff claims that Defendants, in denying him a promotion, violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §621, et seq. and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq. Compl. ¶¶ 20-22. Plaintiff also alleges that subsequent to his filing a grievance with MDOC and a complaint with the EEOC, he was subjected to retaliation in the form of changes in work assignments and times, and a reduction in overall time worked. Id. Plaintiff seeks a transfer of position, back pay, attorneys' fees, and costs.

On October 26, 2012, Defendant MDOC filed a Motion to Dismiss asserting immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. That same day Defendant Jerry Williams filed a Motion to Dismiss and a Motion for Summary Judgment asserting immunity as well as additional legal grounds for dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint. The deadline for Plaintiff to file responses to the instant Motions was November 12, 2012. He did not respond. The Court entered a Show Cause Order on November 20, 2012, granting Plaintiff the opportunity to file responses on or before November 29, 2012. In that same Order, Plaintiff was advised that any failure to comply with the Court's Order could result in the dismissal of this action without further notice. The Court entered a second Show Cause Order [15] on March 28, 2013, which noted that on or about November 26, 2012, Plaintiff had contacted and represented to the Court that he was continuing to search for an attorney. The Order afforded Plaintiff one final opportunity to file Responses on or before April 8, 2013. To date, no Responses have been filed by Plaintiff.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss filed by MDOC

1. Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) "is viewed with disfavor and is rarely granted." Kaiser Aluminum & Chem. Sales v. Avondale Shipyards, 677 F.2d 1045, 1050 (5th Cir. 1982). FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a) provides in relevant part that

[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a).

Under Rule 8(a)(2), the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). The Court's analysis is "generally confined to a review of the complaint and its proper attachments." Lane v. Halliburton, 529 F.3d 548, 557 (5th Cir. 2008).

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." 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. 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. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'"

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-57, 570).

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff must provide the "grounds" for his "entitlement to relief, " which requires more than labels and conclusions or formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. "[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Id. at 563. Further, "a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof ...


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