United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar Chief Judge
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.)
filed her Response to the Court's Order to show cause on
November 5, 2019. (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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