United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
ANGELA M. MILLER, Plaintiff,
KRAMON & GRAHAM, P.A., Defendant
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action, Plaintiff Angela M. Miller alleges various claims of
employment discrimination under federal and state law against
her former employer. Defendant Kramon & Graham, P.A.
See ECF No. 14. Now pending before the Court is
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 21. No hearing is
necessary to resolve the Motion. See Loc. R. 105.6
(D. Md.). For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion
will be granted, in part, and denied, in part.
is a Caucasian female who, as of the time of her filing of
the November 15, 2015 Complaint (the "Operative
Complaint"), was fifty-three years old. ECF No. 14
¶ 1. From 1986 to 1988, then again from 1999 to January
31, 2012, Plaintiff was employed by Defendant as an
Administrative Assistant where she worked under the direction
of Catherine Marks, the office manager. Id.
¶¶ 11-14. According to the Operative Complaint,
Plaintiff was viewed positively as an employee; she had no
negative performance reviews and received praise from
Defendant attorneys on at least two occasions. See Id.
¶¶ 15-20. Plaintiff received annual increases and
bonuses for her performance during the course of her second
stint at Defendant up until 2010. Id. ¶16.
summer of 2011, members of Defendant's office and support
staff, excluding Plaintiff, received annual pay increases.
Id. ¶ 21. When Plaintiff approached Marks about
not receiving a pay increase. Marks told her "the
management team feels that under the budget [she had) capped
out." Id. ¶ 22. Subsequently, Marks
represented to Plaintiff that she was lobbying
Defendant's management to approve Plaintiffs annual
raise, id. ¶ 27, but Plaintiff never received
one. Id. ¶ 29, On January 31, 2012, Marks
summoned Plaintiff to her office and terminated her
employment. Id. ¶ 30. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant replaced her with Ashley Humes, a woman "in
her 20s." Id. ¶ 35.
August 2012, Plaintiff filed a charge of age discrimination
with the EEOC. Id. ¶ 5. More than two years
later, during the EEOC investigatory process in November
2014. Plaintiff learned that, upon receiving notice that they
would be terminated. Defendant's similarly situated
African-American employees were allowed to keep their jobs
while looking for new employment. Id. ¶ 6.
Plaintiff was not afforded such an opportunity, having been
immediately terminated. Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff
subsequently filed a second EEOC charge of age and race
discrimination against Defendant within 300 days of
discovering Defendant's more favorable treatment toward
African-American employees. Id. ¶ 6.
first initiated this action on April 14, 2015, and the case
was assigned to Judge J. Frederick Motz. On November 6, 2015,
Judge Motz administratively closed the case because the
original complaint was not timely served on Defendant. ECF
No. 12. Judge Motz instructed Plaintiff to refile and noted
that the Operative Complaint would be deemed to be served on
April 14, 2015, the date of the original complaint.
Id. The Operative Complaint was filed on November
15, 2015. ECF No. 14.
Operative Complaint, Plaintiff raises claims against
Defendant of age discrimination pursuant to the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29
U.S.C, § 621 et seq. (Count I) and the Maryland
Fair Employment Practices Act ("MFEPA"), Md. Code
Ann., State Gov't § 20-601 et seq. (Count
IV), as well as claims of race discrimination pursuant to
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title
VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 et seq. (Count
II), 42 U.S.C. §1981 (Count III), and the MFEPA (Count
V). See Id. She seeks relief in the form of
compensatory and punitive damages. Id. ¶ 73. On
January 28. 2016, Defendant filed its Motion to Dismiss or,
in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No.
21." Plaintiff filed a response to the Motion,
ECF No. 22, and Defendant filed a reply. ECF No. 23.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court "must accept
as true all of the factual allegations contained in the
complaint, " and "draw all reasonable inferences
[from those facts] in favor of the plaintiff.''
E.l. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus.,
Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must
contain a "short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). But to survive a motion to dismiss
invoking 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) (citing
BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544;
570 (2007)). The factual allegations must be more than
"labels and conclusions .... Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level
. .. ." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see
also 5 C. Wright & A. Plaintiff, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1216, 235-36 (3d ed. 2004) ("IT]he
pleading must contain something more .. . than ... a
statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a
legally cognizable right of action")- A complaint will
not survive Rule 12(b)(6) review where it contains
"naked assertion[Yp devoid of "further factual
enhancement." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557. "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." Iqbal 556 U.S. at 663. "But
where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint
has alleged-but it has
not:show[n]r-'that the pleader is
entitled to relief/" See Id. at 679 (citing
Motion, Defendant raises multiple arguments attacking each of
Plaintiff s claims. Specifically, Defendant argues that the
statute of limitations bars Plaintiffs claims enumerated in
Counts II, IV, and V; and that Plaintiff fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted concerning Counts I
and III. The Court will consider these arguments in turn.
Statute of Limitations
Title VII Race ...