Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dangerfield v. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 18, 2019

MELINDA DANGERFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHNS HOPKINS BAYVIEW MEDICAL CENTER, INC., Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          James K. Bredar Chief Judge

         I. Introduction

         Melinda Dangerfield ("Plaintiff) sued her former employer, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Inc. ("Defendant"), for race-based discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq., intentional infliction of emotional distress, hostile work environment based on race and gender in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and breach of contract. Defendant moved to partially dismiss Plaintiffs complaint (Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 11), and this Court granted that motion with respect to Plaintiffs claims for breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and gender-based hostile work environment (Mot. Dismiss Order, ECF No. 15). The Court also expressed doubts regarding the . adequacy of Plaintiffs claims for racial discrimination and a racially hostile work environment, but because Defendant had not challenged those claims in its motion for partial dismissal, the Court provided Plaintiff an opportunity to explain why those claims should not also be dismissed. (Mot. Dismiss Mem. at 6-8, ECF No. 14.)

         Plaintiff filed her Response to the Court's Order to show cause on November 5, 2019.[1] (Pl. Resp., ECF No. 16.) No. hearing is required. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss Plaintiffs claims for racial discrimination and a racially hostile work environment.

         II. Factual Background

         The factual allegations supporting Plaintiffs claims are detailed in the Court's prior Memorandum partially dismissing Plaintiffs claims (Mot. Dismiss Mem. at 2), but the Court will briefly summarize them here for completeness. Plaintiff alleges that at some points of her employment with Defendant she was the only African American female in her department. (Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges she was treated disparately in her requests for raises and annual leave. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 18.) She also alleges she was "consistently subjected to condescending and abusive language and behavior," and filed a grievance and complaints with Defendant "regarding the discriminatory work environment." (Id. ¶ 7.) She says false complaints were made against her in retaliation for making these complaints. (Id. ¶ 8.) On September 17, 2018, Plaintiff was issued a warning and placed on paid leave based on the allegedly false allegations made against her. (Id. ¶ 10.) She was subsequently terminated on October 4, 2018, the same day she requested transfer to another position. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.)

         III. Standard

         A complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility exists "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. An inference of the mere possibility of misconduct is not sufficient to support a plausible claim. Id. at 679. Courts must "accept the well-pled allegations of the complaint as true, . . . constru[ing] the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997). "A pleading' that offers 'labels and conclusions' or . . . 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement'" will not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (alteration in original) (citation omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). Courts need not accept legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         Plaintiffs need not "plead facts that, constitute a prima facie case in order to survive a motion to dismiss." Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals, 626 F.3d 187, 190 (4th Cir. 2010), affd sub nom. Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland, 566 U.S. 30 (2012). However, the plaintiff must present facts that "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         IV. Analysis

         Plaintiff alleges that she was discriminated against based on her race and that she' experienced a racially hostile work environment while employed by Defendant. The Court will address each claim in turn.

         A. Racial Discrimination

         Title VII protects employees against racial discrimination in the workplace. 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-2. A claim of discrimination under Title VII lacking direct evidence requires plaintiff demonstrate: "(1) membership in a protected class; (2) satisfactory job performance; (3) adverse employment action; and (4) different treatment from similarly situated employees outside the protected class." Coleman, 626 F.3d at 190. To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege facts that are not merely "consistent with discrimination," but rather "support a reasonable inference that the decisionmakers were motivated by bias." McCleary-Evans v. Maryland Dep 't of Transp., State Highway Admin., 780 F.3d 582, 586 (4th Cir. 2015) (emphasis omitted).

         Plaintiff argues that her discrimination claim was adequately pleaded because this Court found she sufficiently pleaded a claim for retaliation after she made complaints about racial discrimination. (Pl.-Resp. at 2-3.) She bases this argument on Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. of Educ,544 U.S. 167, 173 (2005), which found that "[r]etaliation against a person because that person has complained of sex discrimination is another form of intentional sex discrimination" under Title IX. Analogizing this principle to Title VII claims, Plaintiff argues that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.