United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
P. JORDAN III, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
moved to dismiss certain claims in this
employment-discrimination case. Because the Title VII claim
against the individual defendant, the § 1983 claim
against the state agency, and the right-of-association claim
against all Defendants are not legally viable, partial
dismissal is warranted. I. Facts and Procedural History Juan
Gray, an African-American, worked as a probation officer for
the Mississippi Department of Corrections
(“MDOC”), while simultaneously serving as the
police chief of the City of Gloster, Mississippi. At MDOC, he
encountered two supervisors: his first-level supervisor
Priscilla Tenner (who is African American) and Tenner's
supervisor, Defendant Christine Gutherz (who is Caucasian).
to Gray, Tenner had complained in the past of Gutherz's
discriminatory treatment of African Americans. He claims MDOC
employees told him to distance himself from Tenner, because
of this history. Gray refused and thinks Defendants
consequently denied him permission to drive his service
vehicle to and from Gloster. He similarly suggests this
prohibition was racially motivated because MDOC allowed
Caucasian probation officers to use their service vehicles to
travel between agencies.
also says Defendants discriminated against him on account of
his race by later telling him he could not serve as
Gloster's police chief, while allowing at least five
Caucasian employees to hold outside employment. Then, after
four months of employment, Defendants terminated Gray,
purportedly because two offenders “absconded on his
watch.” Compl.  at 4. But Gray says the Caucasian
officer responsible for putting the electronic monitoring
devices on those offenders was retained.
Gray filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission and this lawsuit, alleging claims of race
discrimination under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
also advances a count entitled “First Amendment Right
of Association, ” challenging the alleged retaliation
for associating with Tenner. Id. at 5.
their motion, Defendants seek dismissal of the Title VII
claim against Gutherz, the § 1983 claim against MDOC,
and the right-of-association claim against all Defendants.
Plaintiff did not respond in opposition, and the time to do
so has passed. The Court finds Defendants' motion should
considering a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the “court
accepts ‘all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'”
Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dall. Area Rapid
Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting
Jones v. Greninger, 188 F.3d 322, 324 (5th Cir.
1999) (per curiam)). But “the tenet that a court must
accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To overcome a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555
(citations and footnote omitted).
say that Gray's Title VII claim against Gutherz in her
individual capacity must be dismissed because only an
employer is subject to liability. See Ackel v. Nat'l
Commc'ns, Inc., 339 F.3d 376, 382 n.1 (5th Cir.
2003) (“Individuals are not liable under Title VII in
either their individual or official capacities.”);
Smith v. Amedisys, Inc., 298 F.3d 434, 448 (5th Cir.
2002) (same). Defendants are correct; the Title VII claim
against Gutherz is dismissed.
next point out that the Eleventh Amendment bars Gray's
§ 1983 claim against MDOC. See Williams v. Miss.
Dep't of Corr., No. 3:12-CV-259-CWR-FKB, 2012 WL
2052101, at *1 (S.D.Miss. June 6, 2012) (dismissing §
1983 claims against MDOC based on the Eleventh Amendment);
see also Aguilar v. Tex. Dep't of Criminal
Justice, 160 F.3d 1052, 1054 (5th Cir. 1998) (“The
Eleventh Amendment bars claims ...