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Dorsey v. Baltimore County Public Schools

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 27, 2018

ANTONIO WILSON DORSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
BALTIMORE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Antonio Wilson Dorsey (“Plaintiff” or “Dorsey”), brings this pro se action against Defendant Baltimore County Public Schools (“Defendant” or “School System”), [1]asserting claims for unequal employment, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, and breach of contract in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq, and “[o]ther federal law.”[2] (ECF Nos. 1, 4, 6, 9.) Currently pending before this Court is the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.[3] (ECF No. 12.) 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's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 12) is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's Claims are DISMISSED.

         BACKGROUND

         When reviewing a motion to dismiss, this Court accepts as true the facts alleged in the plaintiff's complaint. See Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (2011). This Court also recognizes that Plaintiff is pro se and has accorded his pleadings liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         Plaintiff Dorsey, an African-American male, filed the instant Complaint against the Defendant School System on June 22, 2017, using a pro se Complaint for Employment Discrimination form. (ECF No. 1.) Dorsey checked the boxes indicating that the discriminatory conduct included unequal terms in his employment, retaliation, and harassment.[4] (Id.) Subsequently, Dorsey filed two Amended Complaints and a Supplement to the Second Amended Complaint. (ECF Nos. 4, 6, 9.) In these subsequent filings, Dorsey added two more claims, termination and breach of contract, and also attempted to join “AFSCME Council 67 Local 434” as a defendant.[5] (Id.) Dorsey asserts that his claims arise from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq, and “[o]ther federal law.” (ECF No. 9.) Dorsey claims that the School System discriminated against him based on his race, color, gender, and religion.[6] (ECF No. 9.)

         Dorsey did not provide a statement of his claim in the pro se Complaint form. Rather, his allegations rely upon documents attached to the Complaints, which include: (1) a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) Charge document (ECF No. 1-3), (2) a EEOC Intake Questionnaire document (ECF No. 1-2), and (3) a selection of letters and e-mails (ECF No. 6-1.)[7] Generally speaking, these documents are illegible, rambling, and difficult to follow. Nevertheless, this Court has accorded liberal construction to these documents as required by Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94, and meticulously reviewed the documents to discern the following factual allegations relevant to Dorsey's claim.

         Dorsey began working for the School System on August 20, 2004. (ECF Nos. 1-2, 1-3.) Dorsey was originally hired as a Building Service Worker but was promoted to a Custodial Trainer position in 2013 or 2014. (ECF No. 6-1 at 4.) Dorsey claims that after this promotion, “M.E.”, a Senior Operations Supervisor with the School System, began to discriminate against Dorsey.[8] (ECF Nos. 1, 1-3.) On February 11, 2015, M.E. met with Dorsey to address rumors that were being spread about other School System employees. (ECF Nos. 1-2, 6-1.) At this meeting, Dorsey was represented by “R.D.”, a union representative with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (“AFSCME”). (Id.) M.E. claimed that Dorsey was the employee who was spreading the rumors. (Id.) Dorsey told M.E. that the accusation could not be true since he had “nothing to do with anything.” (ECF No. 1-2 at 10.) Towards the end of the meeting, R.D. commented that M.E. did not like Dorsey because Dorsey was “black with long hair.” (Id. at 2, 10, 14.) While M.E. immediately denied this accusation, he allegedly turned “all red” and “stormed out [of the room].” (Id. at 10.)

         Approximately two years later, in February of 2017, M.E. and Dorsey met on a few occasions to once again discuss rumors about other School System personnel, which M.E. accused Dorsey of spreading. (ECF Nos. 1-2, 6-1.) After several meetings, on March 29, 2017, Dorsey received a letter from M.E., informing him that he would be transferred to another facility. (ECF No. 6-1 at 6.) In this letter, M.E. claimed that this decision arose from other employee's claims that they could not work with Dorsey. (Id.) However, Dorsey claims that such rumors are false since he was a good employee who was always trying to help people.[9] (Id.) Dorsey claims that he had collegial relationships with the complainant employees. (Id.) Moreover, Dorsey spoke with these employees who told Dorsey that they have no problem working with him. (Id.; ECF No. 1-2.)

         After telling the School System that “he was working in a unsafe work environment due to the stress, ” and that he “didn't feel comfortable going to the [transfer location] because of the unsafe environment they were putting [him] in, ” he never returned to work.[10](ECF No. 6 at 2.) On May 3, 2017, Dorsey received a letter from the school system informing him that if he did not contact the School System by May 8, he would be terminated. (ECF No. 6-1 at 13-14.) Dorsey was eventually terminated. (ECF No. 6.)

         In addition to the facts stated above, Dorsey makes some other semi-factual claims. First, he claims that M.E. never investigated the employees who complained about him. (ECF No. 6-1 at 20.) Second, he claims that the School System promoted other problematic employees. (ECF Nos. 1-2, 6-1.) Finally, he claims that he overheard a conversation between “P.E.”, Dorsey's immediate supervisor, and another school system employee. (ECF No. 1-2 at 10.) After overhearing this, Dorsey knew “that [he] wasnt [sic] the only young black [A]frican [A]merican male that [M.E.] trie[d] to bully and talk and do anything to us [that M.E.] wants.” (Id.) However, Dorsey does not explain the content of the conversation or what discriminatory allegations he heard. (Id.)

         On March 23, 2017, Dorsey filed a Charge Document and Intake Questionnaire with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).[11] (ECF No. 1-3.) After reviewing his Charge, the EEOC was unable to conclude that there was a reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred. Therefore, the EEOC forwarded a Notice of Right to Sue letter to Dorsey on April 18, 2017.[12] (ECF No. 12-2.) Dorsey has included the Charge document and Intake Questionnaire document with his initial Complaint. Presently before this Court is the School System's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 12.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is governed by Rule 12(b)(6), which authorizes the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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); see also Goines v. Valley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 165-66 (4th Cir. 2016). The sufficiency of a complaint is assessed by reference to the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2), which provides that 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). To survive a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl., Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009). Further, a pro se plaintiff's pleadings are “to be liberally construed” and are “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Alley v. Yadkin County Sheriff Dept., No. 17-1249, __ Fed App'x __, 2017 WL 4415771 (4th Cir. Oct. 5, 2017). However, even a pro se litigant's complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege a “plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         While ruling on motion to dismiss, a court's evaluation is generally limited to allegations contained in the complaint. Goines v. Calley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 166-67 (4th Cir. 2016). However, courts may also consider documents explicitly incorporated into the complaint by reference. Id. at 166 (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322, 127 S.Ct. 2499 (2007)). In addition, a court may “consider a document submitted by the movant that was not attached to or expressly incorporated in a complaint, so long as the document was integral to the complaint and there is no dispute about the document's authenticity.” Id. (citing Sec'y of State for Defence v. Trimble Nav. Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir. 2007)). A document is “integral” when “its ‘very existence, and not the mere information it contains, gives rise to the legal rights asserted.'” Chesapeake Bay Found., Inc. v. Severstal Sparrows Point, LLC, ...


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