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Meadows v. Charles County School Board of Education

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 16, 2017




         Presently pending and ready for resolution in this employment discrimination case are a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Helen E. Keller (ECF No. 22); a motion for summary judgment by Defendant Charles County Board of Education (“Charles County Schools” or the “Board”) (ECF No. 48); and two papers filed by Plaintiff Debra Meadows (“Plaintiff”) (ECF Nos. 52; 62) that appear to be motions for leave to amend her complaint.[1] The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Ms. Keller's motion will be granted, the Board's motion will be granted, and both of Plaintiff's motions will be denied.

         I. Background [2]

         The allegations in Plaintiff's complaint are not entirely clear. Plaintiff began working for Keller Transportation, Inc. (“KTI”), a bus company that has a contract with Charles County Schools, in 2011. (ECF No. 1, at 7). Plaintiff lives in subsidized federal housing with her children. (Id.). She suffers from dyslexia. (Id. at 8).

         When Plaintiff filed her taxes in early 2015, she discovered several problems. (Id. at 7). First, she found out that she was categorized an independent contractor and sought to correct the Board's employment records to reflect that she was an employee of Charles County Schools. Second, she found that KTI's human resources department had classified her and her son as “border and migrant workers.” (Id.). Third, she discovered that KTI had reported her income as being “extremely high, ” too high for her subsidized housing. (Id.). This discrepancy led to Plaintiff and her nine-year-old daughter being assigned a $500, 000.00 debt. When the new school year started later in 2015, Plaintiff was given no vacation or sick leave for her position. When Plaintiff was on workers' compensation leave in November 2015, KTI told Plaintiff that she should contact the unemployment benefits office. That office, however, informed her that KTI had not reported her employment with the company and that she was not entitled to any unemployment benefits.

         II. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on June 2, 2016, and the EEOC issued her a right to sue notice on June 15. (ECF No. 1, at 6). She filed this suit on August 18 against Ms. Keller, KTI, the Board, and “Keller Jr[.] Keller III Ernest Bus Service Inc., ” alleging ongoing discrimination on the basis of her religion, national origin, and disability in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (Id. at 2-5).[3] She also alleged that Defendants retaliated against her in violation of Title VII. (Id. at 5).

         A schedule was set and discovery began (ECF No. 27), but the parties have had numerous discovery disputes. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan was assigned to the case on December 19, 2016 (ECF No. 29), and continues to supervise the discovery issues between the parties. Plaintiff has recently filed an interlocutory appeal based on one of Judge Sullivan's decisions. (ECF No. 64).[4]

         On November 23, Ms. Keller moved to dismiss all claims against her. (ECF No. 22). Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice (ECF No. 24), which advised her of the pendency of the motion to dismiss and her entitlement to respond within seventeen days from the date of the letter. See Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975). Plaintiff responded on December 5 (ECF No. 26) and filed a supplement to her response on March 6, 2017 (ECF No. 50). The Board filed its pending motion for summary judgment on March 1, 2017. (ECF No. 48). Plaintiff was provided a Roseboro notice for the Board's motion (ECF No. 49), and she responded on March 13 (ECF No. 51). Plaintiff filed her pending motions on March 28 and April 26. (ECF Nos. 52; 62).

         III. Plaintiff's Motions to Amend

         A. Standard of Review

         A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within twenty-one days after serving it or within twenty-one days after service of a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b), whichever is earlier. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). When the right to amend as a matter of course expires, “a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Whether to grant leave to amend is a matter left to the discretion of the district court, see Simmons v. United Mortg. & Loan Inv., LLC, 634 F.3d 754, 769 (4th Cir. 2011), though courts should “freely give leave when justice so requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Denial of leave to amend is appropriate “only when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing party, there has been bad faith on the part of the moving party, or the amendment would be futile.” Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 242 (4th Cir. 1999) (emphasis in original) (quoting Johnson v. Oroweat Foods Co., 785 F.2d 503, 509 (4th Cir. 1986)). Generally, pro se pleadings are liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiff has submitted two papers - one labeled a “Memorandum to Amend and Correct” and the other labeled a “Rule 2-341. Rule -341 Amending and Pleading to Correct in Plaintiff Defen[ses]” - that appear to be efforts to amend her complaint. (ECF Nos. 52; 62).[5] In these papers, Plaintiff provides additional facts related to her existing Title VII and ADA claims. She also mentions numerous new allegations of violations of other federal laws, including the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552; the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831-1839; the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a; mail fraud statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1346; the Racketeer ...

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