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McCourt v. Gatski Commerical Real Estate Services

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 5, 2015

PATRICIA McCOURT, Plaintiff(s),
v.
GATSKI COMMERICAL REAL ESTATE SERVICES, et al., Defendant(s)

ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.

Presently before the court is defendant Gatski Commercial Real Estate Services' ("Gatski") motion for partial dismissal or, in the alternative, motion for a more definite statement. (Doc. # 7). Plaintiff Patricia McCourt filed a response (doc. # 9) and defendant filed a reply (doc. # 12).

I. Background

This matter is a civil rights employment case based upon Title VII. (Doc. # 1 at 1). Plaintiff worked for defendant Gatski, a commercial real estate business, as a leasing administrative assistant from August 2011 through March 2013. ( Id . at 1-2). Defendant Accord Human Resources, Inc. ("Accord") is an employee leasing company.[1] (Doc. # 1 at 2). Accord employed plaintiff at the time of the incident, though plaintiff was "leased" to Gatski. ( Id .).

Plaintiff alleges that, while working for Gatski in January 2013, a supervisor, Chris Beets, sexually harassed her. ( Id. ). Plaintiff further alleges that she was terminated on March 1, 2013, in retaliation for reporting the harassment.[2] ( Id. at 2).

Plaintiff filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") against Gatski and Accord and received right to sue letters. ( Id. at 2). Plaintiff cites sex as the protected class for both charges. ( Id. at 4).

On November 16, 2014, plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit alleging two causes of action: (1) sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII; and (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress. ( Id. at 1-3).

Gatski asks that plaintiff's state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress be dismissed or, in the alternative, that the court require plaintiff to submit a more definite statement. (Doc. # 7).

II. Legal Standards

A. Motion to Dismiss

A court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide "[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands "more than labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citation omitted). "Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citation omitted).

In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, the court must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id . at 1950. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id . at 1949. Second, the court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id . at 1950. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id . at 1949.

Where the complaint does 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 relief." Id . (internal quotations and alterations omitted). When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

The Ninth Circuit addressed post- Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). The Starr court stated, "First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to ...


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