United States District Court, D. Maryland
Vanessa Hankins, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
Anderson, Defendant, represented by Alex S. Gordon, Office of
the United States Attorney.
Carolyn Colvin, Defendant, represented by Alex S. Gordon,
Office of the United States Attorney.
Theresa Gruber, Defendant, represented by Alex S. Gordon,
Office of the United States Attorney.
RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.
pro se Plaintiff Vanessa Hankins
("Plaintiff" or "Hankins") has brought
this action against Defendant Carolyn Colvin, Acting
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("Social Security"), alleging discrimination
on unspecified bases under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 2000e, et seq., and age
discrimination under the federal sector provision of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. Â§ 633a
("ADEA"), in connection with her non-selection
for a competitive position of employment at Social Security.
Currently pending before this Court is Defendant Colvin's
Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, For
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 8). The Parties' submissions
have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated
herein, Defendant Colvin's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 8)
is GRANTED. Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED.
filed pro se are "liberally construed" and
are "held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551
U.S. at 94 (citation omitted). Plaintiff Vanessa Hankins
("Plaintiff" or "Hankins") is a Paralegal
Specialist (GS-12) at the Social Security Administration
("Social Security") Office of Disability
Adjudication and Review. See Compl., p. 18, ECF No.
1-1. In January of 2015, Hankins applied for promotion to a
GS-13 Paralegal Specialist position. See Supp.
Compl., p. 8, ECF No. 4-2. Hankins was awarded a score of 97
out of 100 on her applicant evaluation. See Compl.,
p. 36, ECF No. 1-1. The cut-off for the agency's
"Best Qualified List" ("BQL") for that
position was a score of 89. Id.
14, 2015, Hankins contacted a Social Security Human Resources
Specialist regarding the status of her application.
Id. at 36-37. Then, on June 2, 2015, Social Security
notified Hankins that she had been placed on the BQL list,
but had not been selected for the position. Id. On
May 26, 2015, Plaintiff contacted an Equal Employment
Opportunity ("EEO") counselor at Social Security,
claiming that the agency had discriminated against her on the
basis of her age (over 40) in failing to hire her for the
position. See Supp. Compl., p. 6-7, ECF No. 4-2. On
August 24, 2015, an EEO counselor issued to Plaintiff a
"Notice of the Right to File a Formal Equal Employment
Opportunity (EEO) Complaint of Discrimination" (ECF No.
4-2). However, Plaintiff has not filed a formal EEO
complaint. On January 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed in this Court
a form "Complaint for Violation of Fair Labor
Standards" (ECF No. 1). On February 12, 2016, Plaintiff
filed in this Court a form "Complaint for Employment
Discrimination" (ECF No. 4).
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). Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of
a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is "to test
the sufficiency of a complaint and not to 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).
Supreme Court's recent opinions in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), "require that
complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater
specificity than previously was required." Walters
v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citation
omitted). In Twombly, the Supreme Court articulated
"[t]wo working principles" that courts must employ
when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. First, while a court must
accept as true all the factual allegations contained in the
complaint, legal conclusions drawn from those facts are not
afforded such deference. Id. (stating that
"[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice" to plead a claim); see also Wag
More Dogs, LLC v. Cozart, 680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir.
2012) ("Although we are constrained to take the facts in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff, we need not accept
legal conclusions couched as facts or unwarranted inferences,
unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Second, a complaint must be
dismissed if it does not allege "a plausible claim for
relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Plaintiff Has Failed to Exhaust the Administrative
Prerequisites to a Title ...