United States District Court, D. Maryland
JUNE F. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM MARTIN, et al., Defendants.
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
June F. Harris (“plaintiff” or
“Harris”) has filed a four-count complaint
against Anne Arundel County, Maryland (“Anne Arundel
County”) and William Martin (“Martin”)
alleging race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 based on her non-promotion to the
position of Assistant Correctional Facility Administrator at
the Anne Arundel County Detention Center (“the
Detention Center”) in 2013. 42 U.S.C.
pending before this Court are defendant Anne Arundel
County's Motion to Dismiss Count II (ECF No. 7) and
defendant William Martin's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
Also pending is plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File
Second Amended Complaint (ECF No. 11.) The parties'
submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons
stated below: defendant Anne Arundel County's Motion to
Dismiss Count II (ECF No. 7) is GRANTED; defendant William
Martin's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9) is GRANTED; and
plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 11) is DENIED.
reviewing a Motion to Dismiss, the Court accepts as true the
facts alleged in the plaintiff's Complaint. See Aziz
v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011). In
ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court reviews
the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris,
550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); see also Hardwick ex rel.
Hardwick v. Heyward, 711 F.3d 426, 433 (4th Cir. 2013).
June Harris has worked at the Anne Arundel County Detention
Center since October of 1988. (ECF No. 6 at ¶ 14.) In
1993, Ms. Harris was promoted to the position of Correctional
Program Specialist II. (Id. at ¶ 15.) In 2004
and subsequent to her filing of an EEOC discrimination
complaint, Ms. Harris was again promoted, this time to the
position of Criminal Justice Program Supervisor.
(Id. at ¶¶ 16-17.)
case arises out of plaintiff's unsuccessful application
for the position of Assistant Correctional Facility
Administrator in early 2013. (ECF No. 6 at ¶ 18.) While
plaintiff applied for the position and participated in the
selection process, she now alleges that she was
“substantially more qualified” than the Caucasian
male who was ultimately selected for the position.
(Id. at ¶¶ 18-24.) Plaintiff further
alleges that defendant William Martin influenced the
selection process by helping to prepare the ultimately
successful candidate, Michael Borgese, for the job interview
and, ultimately, by providing Mr. Borgese with an unfair
advantage for the interview with respect to Ms. Harris.
(Id. at ¶¶ 38-43.)
Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleges that her non-promotion
to the position of Assistant Correctional Facility
Administrator was the result of Anne Arundel County (through
the Detention Center) and William Martin's discrimination
against her on the basis of race (Counts I and III) and
retaliation against her for engaging in protected activity
when she filed her 2004 EEOC complaint (Counts II and
(ECF No. 6.)
Motion to Dismiss
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a plaintiff is
required to plead “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
The purpose of this requirement is to “to give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation and internal
quotations omitted). Consequently, “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. (citation omitted). Similarly,
“an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation” is insufficient. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).
Rather, to withstand a motion to dismiss, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,
” meaning the court could draw “the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the conduct
alleged.” Id. (internal quotations and
context of employment discrimination, the Supreme Court has
clarified that pleadings need not “contain specific
facts establishing a prima facie case of discrimination under
the framework set forth” in McDonnell Douglas Corp.
v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Swierkiewicz v.
Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 (2002). However, in order
to survive a motion to dismiss, plaintiff's
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”
McCleary-Evans v. Md. Dept. of Transp., State Highway
Admin., 780 F.3d 582, 585 (4th Cir. 2015) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545).
Motion for Leave to Amend
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides the
general rules for amending pleadings. Specifically, Rule
15(a) requires that, after a responsive pleading is served, a
plaintiff may amend his complaint “by leave of court or
by written consent of the adverse party.” In general,
leave to amend a complaint pursuant to Rule 15(a) shall be
“freely” granted “when justice so
requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); see Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); Lance v. Prince
George's County, Md., 199 F.Supp.2d 297, 300-01 (D.
Md. 2002). The matter, however, is committed to the
discretion of the district court, and the district judge may
deny leave to amend “when the amendment would be
prejudicial to the opposing party, the moving party has acted
in bad ...