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Pickens v. Comcast Cable

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

January 7, 2015

ROBERT PICKENS, Plaintiff,
v.
COMCAST CABLE, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

Robert Pickens sued Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC ("Comcast") for violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), ยง 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Pending are Comcast's motion to dismiss the Rehabilitation Act and ADA claims. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, Comcast's motion will be granted. However, the Court will grant Pickens leave to amend the complaint if he so chooses.

I. Background[1]

On August 1, 2013, Pickens filed a pro se complaint by completing a Complaint for Employment Discrimination Form provided by the Clerk's Office. ECF No. 1. Pickens alleged that Comcast had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the ADA. Id. at 1-2. In the form, as factual support, Pickens wrote:

I was not given the same treatment as African Americans and was being set up to f[ail]. I was hurt on the job and found a job I could [do] before I was terminated. I was retaliated [against] on 10-11-10.

ECF No. 1 at 2. Pickens also listed various dates for Comcast's alleged violations, but did not describe what happened on those dates. See id. at 3.

On January 14, 2014, the Court dismissed the case for lack of service. ECF No. 5. On February 10, 2014, Pickens moved for reconsideration, representing that he had served Comcast, but had not known that he should have notified the Clerk when service was effectuated. ECF No. 6. On February 20, 2014, the Court reopened the case, and directed the Clerk to issue summons. ECF No. 7. On March 11, 2014, the signed Comcast summons was returned. ECF No. 9. Comcast did not answer or otherwise respond.

On May 20, 2014, Pickens moved for a default judgment, and Brennan C. McCarthy, Esquire entered his appearance for Pickens. ECF Nos. 10-11. On May 27, 2014, the Clerk entered a default against Comcast. ECF No. 13. On June 3, 2014, Comcast moved to set aside the Clerk's entry of default. ECF No. 15. On June 26, 2014, Comcast moved to dismiss the Rehabilitation Act and ADA claims. ECF No. 17. On July 15, 2014, Pickens opposed the motion to dismiss. ECF No. 21. On July 28, the Court denied the motion for a default judgment. ECF No. 22. On July 31, 2014, Comcast replied to Pickens' opposition. ECF No. 23.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), an action may be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint, but does not "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

The Court bears in mind that Rule 8(a)(2) requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001). Although Rule 8's notice-pleading requirements are "not onerous, " the plaintiff must allege facts that support each element of the claim advanced. Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 764-65 (4th Cir. 2003). These facts must be sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

This requires that the plaintiff do more than "plead[] facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability'"; the facts pled must "allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). The complaint must not only allege but also "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Whe[n] the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of ...


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