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Kabir v. Singing River Health Systems

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

December 9, 2019

AZAD KABIR, M.D. PLAINTIFF
v.
SINGING RIVER HEALTH SYSTEMS and RANDY ROTH, M.D., in his individual capacity DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          LOUIS GUIROLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT is the [3] Motion to Dismiss filed by the defendants, Singing River Health System (“SRHS”) and Randy Roth, M.D., in this employment discrimination, Equal Protection, and First Amendment retaliation case. The parties have fully briefed the Motion. After reviewing the submissions of the parties, the record in this matter, and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss should be granted in part and denied in part as set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff, Dr. Azad Kabir, began working as a hospitalist at SRHS on October 1, 2017. On multiple occasions, Dr. Kabir complained to his superiors about alleged discriminatory scheduling practices. SRHS terminated Dr. Kabir on approximately July 20, 2018. In the months following, Dr. Kabir submitted a civil rights complaint against SRHS to the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, filed a charge of discrimination against SRHS with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and submitted complaints to the Office of Quality and Patient Safety and the Office of the Inspector General. On January 3, 2019, SRHS filed a lawsuit against Dr. Kabir, alleging that these complaints constituted defamation. Dr. Kabir filed a second charge of discrimination with the EEOC on April 2, 2019.

         After receiving a dismissal and notice of rights from the EEOC as to both charges, Dr. Kabir filed this lawsuit against SRHS and its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Randy Roth. Dr. Kabir attempts to file a Title VII discrimination claim against SRHS, based on national origin, ethnic, and/or religious discrimination. Dr. Kabir also attempts to file a Title VII retaliation claim against SRHS. In support of this claim, Dr. Kabir alleges that SRHS subjected him to adverse working conditions, terminated his employment, and subjected him to a baseless lawsuit. In addition, Dr. Kabir attempts to allege a claim against Dr. Roth for denial of equal protection in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Finally, Dr. Kabir files a purported claim against Dr. Roth for First Amendment retaliation, again citing adverse working conditions, his termination, and the defamation lawsuit. SRHS and Dr. Roth filed the present Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         DISCUSSION

         To survive a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must 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).

         I. DR. KABIR'S TITLE VII DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

         SRHS argues that Dr. Kabir's Title VII discrimination claim should be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit, because the charges of discrimination Dr. Kabir provided to the EEOC did not contain sufficient facts.

         “[A] primary purpose of Title VII is to trigger the investigatory and conciliatory procedures of the EEOC, in an attempt to achieve non-judicial resolution of employment discrimination claims.” Davis v. Fort Bend Cty., 893 F.3d 300, 303 (5th Cir. 2018). “By exhausting their administrative remedies by filing formal charges with the EEOC, Title VII plaintiffs initiate this process.” Id. Exhaustion is not a jurisdictional requirement but a “prudential prerequisite” to the filing of a lawsuit. Id. at 306, 308.

         An EEOC charge must contain “[a] clear and concise statement of the facts, including pertinent dates, constituting the alleged unlawful employment practices.” 29 C.F.R. § 1601.12(a)(3). “[A] charge is sufficient when the [EEOC] receives from the person making the charge a written statement sufficiently precise to identify the parties, and to describe generally the action or practices complained of.” 29 C.F.R. § 1601.12(b). The Fifth Circuit has explained:

Two dueling principles govern our determination of whether [the plaintiff] exhausted [his] administrative remedies: (1) [c]onsistent with the remedial purposes underlying Title VII, we construe employment discrimination charges with the utmost liberality, bearing in mind that such charges are generally prepared by laymen untutored in the rules of pleading, and (2) the charge must contain an adequate factual basis so that it puts the employer on notice of the existence and nature of the charges and so the EEOC may have an opportunity to attempt to obtain voluntary compliance.

Preston v. Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., 222 Fed.Appx. 353, 356-57 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Dr. Kabir's October 2018 charge contains the following facts:

On or about October 1, 2016, I was hired as a Physician. I was discriminated against because of my race and religion. ...

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