United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
WILLIE MAE LENOIR and COURTNEY M. BLAKE PLAINTIFFS
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC.; PREMISE HEALTH EMPLOYER SOLUTIONS, LLC; QUEST DIAGNOSTICS CLINICAL LABORATORIES, INC.; and JOHN DOES 1-10 DEFENDANTS
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Premise Health Employer Solutions' motion to
Background and Procedural History
Plaintiffs Willie Lenoir and Courtney Blake, both African
American, worked as product technicians for Defendant Nissan
North America, Inc. Nissan hired Plaintiffs in early April
2003. In February 2015, Lenoir underwent a workplace drug
test, was notified that the test was positive for cocaine,
and was terminated despite her attempts to dispute the
validity of the test results. In April 2015, the same thing
happened to Blake. In conducting the drug tests, Nissan
contracted with Defendant Premise Health Employer Solutions,
LLC to administer the drug tests. Premise subcontracted with
Defendant Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, LLC to
perform the tests on the specimen.
August 30, 2018, Plaintiffs brought this suit against
Defendants alleging federal claims of harassment, hostile
work environment, retaliation, and discrimination under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act; 42 U.S.C. § 1981; the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and Title II of the
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Plaintiffs
also brought common law claims of failure to train and
respondeat superior, intentional and negligent infliction of
emotional distress, conspiracy, wrongful termination,
tortious interference with contract, and negligence.
October 30, 2018, Quest Diagnostics filed its motion to
dismiss. On November 13, Premise filed a joinder in that
motion. Pursuant to an Agreed Order of Dismissal, all claims
against Quest Diagnostics were dismissed with prejudice on
December 4, 2018. What remains is whether the claims against
Premise should proceed.
motion to dismiss first argues that Plaintiffs' common
law claims are all time barred by the applicable statute of
limitations. In the alternative, the motion argues that each
of those claims fail as a matter of law. As for the statutory
employment claims, the motion argues that Plaintiffs did not
exhaust their administrative remedies and have not timely
filed charges of discrimination against Premise with the
EEOC. Alternatively, Premise argues those statutory claims
are conclusory and insufficiently pled because Premise is not
familiar motion to dismiss standard applies. See Arich v.
Dolan Co., No. 3:11-CV-538-CWR-LRA, 2012 WL 2025202, at
*2-3 (S.D.Miss. June 5, 2012).
Statutory Employment Claims (Counts I-IV and VI)
Complaint does not explicitly assert any of the statutory
employment claims against Premise. To the extent that any are
implied, Premise argues that the Title VII (Counts I, IV, and
VI), ADA (Count II), and GINA (Count III) claims are
procedurally barred because Plaintiffs did not exhaust their
administrative remedies. Although Plaintiffs received their
Right to Sue letter as to Nissan, Premise argues that it was
not a named party or Respondent in the administrative charge.
Plaintiffs do not dispute this. “Employment
discrimination plaintiffs must exhaust administrative
remedies before pursuing claims in federal court. Exhaustion
occurs when the plaintiff files a timely charge with the EEOC
and receives a statutory notice of right to sue.”
Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376,
378-79 (5th Cir. 2002); see also 42 U.S.C. §
2000ff-6. Generally, plaintiffs have 180 days from the date
of the alleged violation to file their charge with the EEOC.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e) & (f); 29 C.F.R.
§ 1601.13(a)(1). The Court finds that Premise's
arguments are well founded. Consequently, Plaintiffs are
procedurally barred from bringing claims against Premise
under Title VII, the ADA, and GINA.
Common Law Claims (Counts VII-XII)
of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) are
subject to a one-year limitations period. See Miss.
Code Ann. § 15-1-35; see also Jones v. Fluor Daniel
Services Corp., 32 So.3d 417, 423 (Miss. 2010). All of
Plaintiffs' remaining common law claims are subject to
the catch-all three-year statute of limitations. See
Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49.
learned of her failed drug test and was terminated in
February 2015. Blake learned of the same and was terminated
in April 2015. Plaintiffs did not file their Complaint until
August 30, 2018. As such, Premise argues that the IIED claim
became time barred in 2016, and the remaining common law
claims became time barred in February 2018 (for Lenoir) and