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Havard v. Huntington Ingalls Industries

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

April 5, 2019

KEITH ELLIOTT HAVARD PLAINTIFF
v.
HUNTINGTON INGALLS INDUSTRIES, Pascagoula Operations DEFENDANT

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          LOUIS GUIROLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         BEFORE THE COURT is the [8] Motion to Dismiss filed by the defendant, Huntington Ingalls Industries. Ingalls argues that: (1) Havard has failed to state facts supporting valid claims for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA); (2) Havard failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to his ADEA and ADA claims; and (3) Havard's FMLA claim is barred by the statute of limitations. Havard did not file a response in opposition to the Motion. After reviewing the submissions of the parties, the record in this matter, and the applicable law, the Court finds that Ingalls' Motion should be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Havard filed this pro se lawsuit alleging that Ingalls terminated his employment for excessive absences in violation of the ADEA, ADA, and FMLA. He claims to suffer from knee pain, back pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Havard was terminated on January 26, 2016, and he filed this lawsuit on January 24, 2019. Ingalls filed the present Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         DISCUSSION

         Generally, Rule 12(b)(6) requires a complaint to “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The court must accept all well-pleaded facts as true and view those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. King-White v. Humble Indep. Sch. Dist., 803 F.3d 754, 758 (5th Cir. 2015).

         I. HAVARD'S ADEA CLAIM

         The ADEA provides, “It shall be unlawful for an employer . . . to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's age.” 29 U.S.C. § 623(a). Havard's Complaint fails to state a plausible ADEA claim because it does not contain any factual allegations concerning Havard's age or actions taken by Ingalls due to his age.

         In addition, a plaintiff alleging age discrimination must file a timely charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before filing his lawsuit. 29 U.S.C. § 626(d). Charges are untimely unless they are filed within 180 days after the alleged unlawful practice occurred. 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1)(A). Havard has not alleged that he filed an EEOC charge prior to filing this lawsuit, and more than 180 days have passed since his termination. Therefore, his ADEA claim must be dismissed with prejudice.

         II. HAVARD'S ADA CLAIM

         Plaintiffs attempting to assert ADA claims must also exhaust their administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged unlawful employment practice. Patton v. Jacobs Eng'g Grp., 874 F.3d 437, 443 (5th Cir. 2017). Since Havard has not alleged that he filed an EEOC charge before he filed this lawsuit and more than 180 days have passed since Havard's termination, his ADA claim must be dismissed with prejudice.

         III. HAVARD'S FMLA CLAIM

         The FMLA provides that employers may not “interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise, any [FMLA leave] right.” 29 U.S.C. § 2615(a). Most FMLA claims must be brought within two years of the alleged violation, but actions for willful FMLA violations are subject to a three-year period. 29 U.S.C. § 2617(c). Ingalls terminated Havard on January 26, 2016, and Havard filed this lawsuit on January 24, 2019. Therefore, Havard filed this lawsuit after the two-year limitations period expired but before the three-year limitations period would have expired. Ingalls argues that Havard's FMLA claim is time-barred because he does not make any factual allegations that would support a finding that Ingalls willfully violated the FMLA.

         To establish a willful violation of the FMLA, a plaintiff must show that his employer either “knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited by the statute.” Steele v. Leasing Enters., Ltd., 826 F.3d 237, 248 (5th Cir. 2016). “A negligent violation is not a willful violation, ...


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