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Mian v. Paukstis

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 2, 2018

MOHAMMED A. MIAN, Plaintiff,



         Pending before the Court in this employment case are two motions: a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants John Paukstis and Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland, Inc. (“Paukstis” and “Habitat for Humanity, ” respectively) (ECF No. 6), and a motion for leave to file a reply to the Defendants' answer under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7(a)(7) filed by Plaintiff Mohammad A. Mian (“Mian”) (ECF No. 15). The issues are fully briefed, and, because no hearing is necessary, the Court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6. The Court GRANTS the motion to dismiss (ECF No. 6) and DENIES the motion to file under Rule 7(a)(7) (ECF No. 15).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Mian, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint against Paukstis and Habitat for Humanity[1]which Mian styled as one for employment discrimination. ECF No. 1 at 1. Mian was a participant in the Jewish Council for the Aging's Senior Community Service Employment Program, which placed him as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 3, 4. Mian volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for approximately one year and, in December 2015, wrote to express interest in being brought on as a regular employee. ECF No. 1 ¶ 5, ECF No. 1-4. Mian was informed that no positions were open. ECF No. 1-5 at 1, 1-7 at 2 (Mian asked Habitat for Humanity to create a position for him; no position was created). Some weeks later, an assistant manager resigned, leaving a position open at the facility where Mian worked. Mian apparently was not informed of the vacancy, and another candidate was hired. ECF No. 1-5 at 1. Mian recognized that he did not meet the physical requirements of the assistant manager position. ECF No. 1-5 at 1.

         At the same time, Mian alleges that a Habitat for Humanity employee who worked in the same facility as he did, Sharika, yelled at him on multiple occasions. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 9, 10. Mian complained to Habitat for Humanity and to his contact at the Jewish Council for the Aging. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 9, 12. Following a meeting between representatives of Habitat for Humanity and the Jewish Council for the Aging, which Mian declined to attend, Mian was informed that he would be reassigned to a different host site at which to volunteer. ECF No. 1-7 at 6, ECF No. 1 ¶ 11.

         Mian thereafter filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (“MCOHR”). ECF No. 1 ¶ 14, ECF No. 1-7. The MCOHR found that no reasonable grounds existed to support an actionable claim. ECF No. 1-7 at 8. Mian appealed to the Case Review Board of the Human Rights Commission (“the Board”), which affirmed the MCOHR decision. ECF No. 1-9 at 1. This suit followed.


         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) properly is granted when a complaint does not include sufficient factual allegations to render the plaintiff's claims facially plausible, or to permit reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). To assess a motion to dismiss, a court takes as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and makes all reasonable inferences in the favor of the plaintiff. Phillips v. Pitt Cty. Mem. Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 1999). A court may consider materials attached to the Complaint when reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. However, when determining if a plaintiff has stated a valid claim, a court does not credit conclusory statements or a plaintiff's legal conclusions, even when the plaintiff purports them to be allegations of fact. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Giarrantano v. Jonson, 520 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008). Further, “[a] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are not more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 665.

         Because Mian is proceeding pro se, the Court must construe his complaint liberally to allow for the development of a potentially meritorious case. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). Liberal construction requires that if the Court can reasonably read the Complaint to state a valid claim, it must do so; however, the Court cannot ignore a clear failure to allege facts setting forth a cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990) (“The ‘special judicial solicitude' with which a district court should view such pro se complaints does not transform the court into an advocate. Only those questions which are squarely presented to a court may properly be addressed.”). The Court is not “required to recognize obscure or extravagant claims defying the most concerted efforts to unravel them.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Neither should the Court “conjure up questions never squarely presented . . . . Even in the case of pro se litigants, [district courts] cannot be expected to construct full blown claims from sentence fragments.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).


         A. Appeal of the Board's Decision

         As an initial matter, the Court cannot grant Mian's requested relief, which he styles as “Solicitation, ” in his Complaint. ECF No. 1 at 7. Mian's requested relief reads in full:[2]

a) This honorable court is requested that in view of the foregoing facts in the case, there was no controversial issue left and case was over after rebuttals answer.
b) The new issue invented by the Human Rights Director for the conclusion was just attempt to fill up vacuum of any valid issue available to make the excuse to terminate the complaint ...

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