United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mae Springfield filed her pro se Complaint  in
this Court on November 16, 2018 against the Greenville Public
School District's Superintendent and members of the Board
of Trustees asserting a claim for age discrimination under 29
U.S.C. § 621. Now before the Court is the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss  for Failure to State a
Claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
and Procedural Background
Plaintiff was born in 1961 and is fifty-eight years old.
According to her Complaint, the Plaintiff is currently
employed by the Greenville Public School District but was
demoted on November 17, 2017. The Plaintiff claims that after
she was reassigned to a new position, a younger person was
given her job duties and responsibilities. The Plaintiff
asserts that she never received due process and requests
re-employment under the ADEA.
their Motion to Dismiss , the Defendants argue that they
cannot be held individually liable because they are not
“employers” within the scope of ADEA liability
and request the dismissal of this action for the failure to
state a claim against a viable Defendant.
March 30, 2019, approximately four months after filing her
pro se Complaint and five days after the pending
Motion  was filed, the Plaintiff obtained counsel who
then filed a Notice of Appearance  as counsel of record.
The Plaintiff has not responded to the Defendants' Motion
deciding the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the Court
must read the Complaint in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff and all well-pleaded, material allegations in the
Complaint must be taken as true. Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 112, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976). It is
the purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to test the formal
sufficiency of the statement for relief. Murray v. Amoco
Oil Co., 539 F.2d 1385 (5th Cir. 1976). A legally
sufficient complaint must establish more than a “sheer
possibility” that the plaintiff's claim is true.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79, 129 S.Ct.
937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). It need not contain detailed
factual allegations, but it must go beyond labels, legal
conclusions, or formulaic recitations of the elements of a
cause of action. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). In
other words, a “[plaintiff's] complaint therefore
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955.
the Court liberally construes pleadings filed pro
se, such as the complaint in this case. Johnson v.
Atkins, 999 F.2d 99, 100 (5th Cir. 1993); see also
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30
L.Ed.2d 652 (1972) (noting that pro se complaints
are held “to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers”). However,
“conclusory allegations or legal conclusions
masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice to
prevent a motion to dismiss.” Fernandez-Montes v.
Allied Pilots Assn., 987 F.2d 278, 284 (5th Cir. 1993).
ADEA authorizes suits against employers for age
discrimination. See 29 U.S.C. § 623(a). The
definition of “employer” in ADEA cases is nearly
identical to the Title VII definition, “and courts tend
to follow the more developed Title VII jurisprudence in ADEA
cases.” Koppman v. South Central Bell Telephone
Co., 1992 WL 142390, *8 (E.D. La. Jun. 17, 1992). An
employer is “a person engaged in an industry affecting
commerce . . . and any agent of such a person. Harvey v.
Blake, 913 F.2d 226, 227 (5th Cir. 1990) (citing 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000e(b)). Fifth Circuit precedent is
clear that “[i]ndividuals are not liable under Title
VII in either their individual or official capacities.”
Malcolm v. Vicksburg Warren School District Board of
Trustees, 709 Fed.Appx. 243, 247 (5th Cir. 2017) (citing
Ackel v. National Communications, Inc., 339 F.3d
376, 380 (5th Cir. 2003). Likewise, “the ADEA
‘provides no basis for individual liability for
supervisory employees.'” Malcolm, 709
Fed.Appx. At 247 (citing Medina v. Ramsey Steel Co.,
238 F.3d 674, 686 (5th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).
Malcolm, the pro se Plaintiff sued
individuals associated with a school district's Board of
Trustees. The district court granted summary judgment and
dismissed the plaintiff's claims with prejudice. On
appeal the Fifth Circuit affirmed, finding that the plaintiff
could not pursue an ADEA claim against individual defendants.
Id. (holding that “the ADEA provides no basis
for individual liability for supervisory employees.”)
(citation omitted); Fierro v. Knight Transp., No.
EP-2-CV-218-DCG, 2012 WL 4321304, *7 (W.D. Tex. Sep. 18,
2012) (citation omitted); Medina, 238 F.3d at 686.
as in Malcolm, the Plaintiff sued individuals
associated with a school district's Board of Trustees. In
her Complaint, the Plaintiff does not indicate that she is
pursuing a claim against the Defendants in their official
capacities and fails to allege any facts that the Defendants
were the Plaintiff's immediate supervisors.
Harvey, 913 F.2d at 227 (finding immediate
supervisors may be held liable in their official capacities
“when delegated the employer's traditional rights,
such as hiring and firing.”). Given that individuals in
their individual or official capacities cannot be held liable
under the ADEA as a matter of law, the Court finds the
Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state ...