United States District Court, D. Maryland
SANDRA R. PERRY Plaintiff
STATE OF MARYLAND, et al. Defendants
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS
J. GARBIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court has before it Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF
No. 10], Defendant Allen J. Perdue's Motion to Dismiss
for Failure to State A Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted
[ECF No. 11], and the materials submitted relating thereto.
The Court finds that a hearing is not necessary.
Parties and Claims
Sandra R. Perry (“Plaintiff” or
“Perry”) was an Agent Procurement Specialist at
Deer's Head Hospital Center (“DHHC”), and was
terminated from employment in October 2017. Compl.
¶¶ 1, 58. Defendants are (1) the State of Maryland,
(2) Maryland Department of Health, (3) DHHC, (4) Mary Beth
Waide, (5) Kenneth Waller, (6) Elizabeth Perdue, (7) Allen
John Perdue, and (8) Luanne Dashield. Plaintiff brings the following claims
against each Defendant:
Title VII: Discrimination Based Upon Sex
Title VII: Sexual Harassment (Hostile Work
Title VII: Retaliation
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint [ECF Nos. 10
and 11], although Allen J. Perdue's motion to dismiss is
contained in a separate filing [ECF No. 11].
Facts As Alleged by Perry
Plaintiff Perry was employed by DHHC from 2009 to 2017 as an
“Agency Procurement Specialist II, ” meaning that
she was responsible for “procuring equipment, services,
supplies, and other needs” for DHHC through a
competitive procurement process. Compl. ¶¶ 12-13.
On October 1, 2015, Plaintiff received the following email
message to her work email address, from
are you an exhibitionist? love those short skirts and your
long legs. when you bent over your cheeks looked great. do
you go commando? my picture says so? need more personal
contact. you might agree by sending me proof and if you
shave. I know you don't want this circulated.
Id. ¶¶ 16-17. Plaintiff did not recognize
the email address, felt “extremely uncomfortable and
threatened, ” and reported the email to her supervisor
(Defendant Elizabeth Perdue) and her department director
(Defendant Waller), neither of whom took action. Id.
that same day, she “determined, by performing a Google
search that the sexually harassing email message came from
Allen John Perdue, who is the husband of [her] immediate
supervisor, Mrs. Beth Perdue.” Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff
explained this finding to Defendant Waller and “members
of the IT staff” yet still received no response.
Id. ¶¶ 21-22. Afterwards, a member of the
IT staff allegedly went onto her computer and moved the email
message from her inbox to the spam folder. Id.
¶ 23. Plaintiff retrieved the email from the spam
folder, shared it with the Human Resources Department, and
requested that Human Resources address this matter with Mrs.
Perdue and prelude Mr. Perdue from entering the premises.
Id. ¶ 24.
the incidents on October 1, 2015, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant Elizabeth Perdue “initiated a pattern of
hazing, harassment, hostility, and isolation” directed
at Plaintiff, including giving her “the silent
treatment” and “bec[oming] critical” of her
work performance. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff alleges
that her complaints about Defendant Elizabeth Perdue were
ignored, that she was refused a request for a different
supervisor, that she began medical treatment for stress,
anxiety, and depression. Id. ¶¶ 26-28.
November 2015, Defendant Dashield informed Plaintiff that she
was assigned to a “clerical position of
‘timekeeping, '” which was a lower level
position than her procurement position and was located in an
“unoccupied area of the DHHC building.”
Id. ¶¶ 29-30, 33. Upon hearing that this
position would be permanent, Plaintiff allegedly suffered a
panic attack and had to take 12 weeks of medical leave.
Id. ¶¶ 34-35.
February 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination
with the EEOC, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation.
Id. ¶ 37. She returned to work soon thereafter
(in her original procurement position), and continued to be
supervised by Defendant Elizabeth Perdue. Id. ¶
36. Ms. Perdue allegedly began to remove responsibilities
from Plaintiff, including personally handling
responsibilities for which Plaintiff used to handle, not
providing Plaintiff with access to files that she believed
she needed to effectively complete her work, and changing the
way contract review was assigned so that Plaintiff had fewer
independent responsibilities. Id. ¶¶
36-39, 41-43. Ms. Perdue also “slamm[ed] office doors,
slamm[ed] filing drawers, and slamm[ed] restroom doors”
whenever Plaintiff was nearby. Id. ¶ 40.
this time, Plaintiff discovers a 6-month performance review
finalized during her medical leave that gave her work a
rating of “Satisfactory, ” even though she had
always received an “Outstanding” performance
review prior to her medical leave. Id. ¶¶
April 10, 2017, Plaintiff was approved for, and took, another
three-month long medical leave as a result of “stress,
anxiety, and depression.” Id. ¶¶
47-48. Although she was scheduled to return to work on July
5, 2017, on that date she stated that she was not medically
cleared to return to work due to stress, anxiety and
depression. Id. ¶ 50. Defendants requested a
Task Analysis from Plaintiff's medical provider, and sent
Plaintiff for a medical evaluation by a doctor at the State
Medical Director's Office, who reported that Plaintiff
“is not likely psychologically fit to efficiently
perform her job duties at her current location at Deer's
Head Hospital Center” but that Plaintiff “would
be able to perform [her] duties . . . in a different
location.” Id. ¶¶ 51-54.
this medical evaluation, Defendant Dashield wrote a letter to
Plaintiff on September 12, 2017, stating that reassignment
was not feasible due to a lack of vacancies and that “a
list of reasonable accommodations” could be provided
but not guaranteed. Id. ¶ 55. The letter
“concluded by stating that if accommodations cannot be
granted, ” then Plaintiff could resign, apply for
disability or service retirement, or be terminated.
filed for disability retirement on September 25, 2017, and
was formally terminated by letter on October 7, 2017.
Id. ¶¶ 57-58.
motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a
complaint. A complaint need only contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair
notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). When evaluating a
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff's well-pleaded
allegations are accepted as true and the complaint is viewed
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. However,
conclusory statements or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” will not suffice.
Id. A complaint must allege sufficient facts to
“cross ‘the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.'”
Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir.
2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
into whether a complaint states a plausible claim is “a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Id. Thus, if the well-pleaded facts contained within
a complaint “do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged
- but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to