United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi.
ERICA N. STEWART PLAINTIFF
TAROLD DURHAM; BELHAVEN UNIVERSITY DEFENDANTS
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Tarold Durham's motion to dismiss. Docket
No. 27. The matter is fully briefed and ready for review.
Factual and Procedural History
factual allegations are drawn from the complaint and taken as
true for present purposes.
November 2015, Erica Stewart interviewed for a job in the
Online Admissions Department of Belhaven University. Tarold
Durham, the director of Online Admissions, conducted the
says that at some point in her application process Durham
made sexual advances toward her via social media and text
messages. The advances culminated in Durham sending Stewart a
text message containing a photo of an erect penis. Durham
allegedly wanted sexual favors in exchange for a job offer.
refused the advances. In January 2016, she learned that the
vacancy was no longer available. She filed a claim with the
EEOC, then commenced suit in this Court.
complaint, Stewart alleges that Durham and Belhaven are
liable for sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of
Title VII, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional
distress, and negligent supervision. She takes special
offense at this conduct having occurred at a Christian
motion to dismiss contends that Stewart has failed to state a
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
the Court accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as
true and makes reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's
favor. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
To proceed, the complaint "must contain a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." Id. at 677-78 (quotation
marks and citation omitted). This requires "more than an
unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation,
" but the complaint need not have "detailed factual
allegations." Id. at 678 (quotation marks and
citation omitted). The plaintiff's claims must also be
plausible on their face, which means there is "factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. (citation omitted).
concedes that her Title VII claims against Durham fail
because Durham was not an "employer" under the
statute. What remains are her state-law claims for
intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress will
not ordinarily lie for mere employment disputes."
Lee v. Golden Triangle Planning & Dev. Dist,
Inc.,797 So.2d 845, 851 (Miss. 2001) (citations
omitted). "To justify a finding that this tort has
occurred, the defendant's conduct must be wanton and
wilful and it would evoke outrage or revulsion."