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Robinson v. Renown Regional Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 10, 2017




         I. SUMMARY

         Before the Court is a motion to dismissed (“Motion”) filed by Renown Health (“Renown”) and Alma Medina, Allie Saunders, Tena Thomas, Suzanne Oetjen, Mandy Roberts, Leon Gill, Megan Pailing, Katherine Sims and Sonia Torres (collectively, “Individual Defendants”)[1]. (ECF No. 27[2].) The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's response (ECF No. 35) and Defendants' reply (ECF No. 40). For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motion is granted.


         Plaintiff Shaun Robinson initiated this employment dispute against his former employer, Renown Health, and Individual Defendants who allegedly participated in gender discrimination against Plaintiff. In connection with Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP application”), the Court screened Plaintiff's proposed complaint, first amended complaint and second amended complaint (“SAC”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF Nos. 5, 8, 11.) The Court permitted Plaintiff to proceed on counts one through six (alleging Title VII violations) and count eight (alleging infliction of emotional distress), and dismissed count seven (alleging defamation and intrusion upon seclusion). (ECF No. 11.) The following facts are taken from the SAC (ECF No. 13.)

         Plaintiff, a Caucasian man, became a Certified Nursing Assistant (“CNA”) in October 2013. (Id. at 8-9.) Plaintiff received an offer of employment from Renown on November 18, 2013, which he accepted. (Id. at 9.) Plaintiff was the only male dayshift CNA on the floor where he worked and was subjected to alleged discriminatory treatment because of his gender, including receiving a poor 90-day performance evaluation, getting more burdensome work assignments, being refused assistance with patients and phone coverage for breaks from his female co-workers, and being subjected to name calling, intimidation and ridicule. (Id. at 9-14.) Plaintiff complained about his poor performance evaluation and alleged discrimination, but his complaints were not addressed. (Id. at 14-16.) Plaintiff's employment was suspended on October 8, 2014, and terminated on October 16, 2014, for alleged patient documentation issues which Plaintiff claims were false. (Id. at 17-20.)


         As an initial matter, Plaintiff argues that because the Court screened his SAC, Defendants' Motion essentially ask for reconsideration of the Court's screening order. (ECF No. 6-7.) While the Court applies the same standard for determining whether the SAC states a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) when screening the SAC as required /// under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a defendant is not foreclosed from seeking dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6).

         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 pleaded 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, a district court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 678-79. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. at 678. Second, a district court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow a court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678. Where the complaint fails to “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. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)) (alteration omitted). When the claims in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, the complaint must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations concerning “all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory.” Id. at 562 (quoting Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984)).

         Mindful of the fact that “[t]he Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the ‘inartful pleading' of pro se litigants, ” the Court will view Plaintiff's pleadings with the appropriate degree of leniency. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) (quoting Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982)).


         Defendants' Motion seeks dismissal of the following claims in the SAC: (1) Title VII claims (the first six claims) against the Individual Defendants; (2) eighth claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress; (3) first and sixth claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies; and (4) third and fourth claims as they are duplicative of Plaintiff's second claim and fifth claim, respectively. (ECF No. 27.) The Court will address each request in turn below.

         A. Title VII Claims Against ...

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