United States District Court, D. Nevada
R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff
Devon Robertson's (“Robertson”) amended
complaint (ECF No. 8). ECF No. 12. Plaintiff Robertson filed
a response (ECF No. 21) to which defendants replied (ECF No.
January 19, 2016, Robertson began employment as an academic
teacher with Independence High School
(“Independence”), an accredited high school in
Elko, Nevada, and part of the State of Nevada Youth Training
Camp operated by defendant State of Nevada Department of
Health and Human Services (“DHHS”). Defendant
Russell Klein (“Klein”) was the principal of
Independence and functioned as Robertson's direct
supervisor. Defendant Gregory Thornton
(“Thornton”) is the superintendent of
Independence and was Klein's direct supervisor.
alleges that during her first few months at Independence,
Klein began a “campaign charged with sexual innuendo,
romantic advances, and outright overtures of a sexual
nature” towards her which included an incident wherein
Klein touched Robertson's thigh while making overt sexual
comments. ECF No. 8 at ¶ 5. While Klein engaged in this
sexually charged behavior, he praised Robertson's
teaching acumen. For instance, in March 2016, Klein referred
to Robertson as a “veteran teacher who handled herself
tremendously in the classroom” in an email he sent to
Thornton and other faculty. Id. at ¶ 4. After
several months of Klein's behavior, on or about April 18,
2016, Robertson told Klein that she wanted a strictly
Robertson's rebuke, Klein immediately changed his
behavior and attitude toward her. On April 21, 2016, Klein
ordered Robertson to keep her classroom door open at all
times. Robertson notified Klein that this open-door policy
violated the fire code, created a hostile working
environment, interfered with her ability to do her job, and
violated her rights as a disabled person, but Klein continued
the policy. Id. At the time, no other teacher
at Independence was subjected to the open-door policy. After
this confrontation, Klein then began ignoring Robertson and
when forced to respond, did so in short, accusatory tones.
Id. In response, Robertson sought mediation through
DHHS's Department of Human Resources (“HR”)
to resolve her conflict with Klein, but her scheduled meeting
was canceled. Id. at ¶ 6.
later on April 28, 2016, Robertson met with Thornton and
Klein for a scheduled performance appraisal. Id. at
¶ 6. During the meeting, Thornton and Klein concluded
that Robertson met standards, but otherwise gave her a
“disparaging appraisal” and recommended that
Robertson learn humility. Id. Robertson immediately
contested the appraisal and a deputy administrator ultimately
increased her performance score and struck certain items from
the record. Id. After Robertson initiated the
appeal of her performance appraisal, Klein allegedly stated
that he and Thornton would seek to terminate her for
“going over [their heads]” to HR. Id.
next day, Klein allegedly told Robertson that she needed to
say that she would do anything to keep her job. Id.
at ¶8. Robertson refused and again told Klein that he
was subjecting her to a hostile work environment, violating
the fire code, and violating her rights as a disabled person.
Id. Klein then told Robertson that Thornton had
requested a meeting with her and that she must tell Thornton
that she would do anything to keep her job and that she
needed to be humble and “beg for forgiveness.”
Robertson again refused. Id. at ¶ 10.
their latest discussion, Robertson alleges that Klein began
to single her out and falsely accuse her of tardiness.
Id. For example, on May 4, 2016, Robertson arrived
at Independence 10 minutes early with another teacher, but
Klein reprimanded Robertson for tardiness, despite the other
teacher informing Klein that they arrived together.
mid-July, Klein left Independence and was replaced by
non-party Mikel Beardall (“Beardall”).
Id. at ¶ 11. In late September, Robertson
raised new concerns to HR regarding alleged bullying and
intimidation by Thornton and Beardall. Id. Then, in
early October, Robertson voiced concerns to Beardall
regarding Independence's non-compliance with Special
Education, Response to Interventions (RTI), and English
Language Learners (ELL) program requirements. Id.
During that conversation, Beardall allegedly told Robertson
that the current procedures would remain in effect and not to
complain again. Id. Shortly thereafter, Robertson
filed intake paperwork with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”). Id. Subsequently,
on October 27, 2016, Thornton released Robertson from her
probationary employment period, thereby terminating her
employment. Id. Thereafter, on January 31, 2017,
Robertson initiated this action against the defendants. ECF
seek dismissal of certain claims in Robertson's complaint
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failing to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. A court reviewing a
motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6) accepts the facts alleged in
the complaint as true. To survive a 12(b)(6) motion, a
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Id. at 8(a)(2). The Rule 8(a)(2)
pleading standard does not require detailed allegations,
however, a pleading must be more than mere
“‘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 Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Towmbly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). While the court does accept
factual allegations as true, “bare assertions. . .
amount[ing] to nothing more than a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a . . . claim . . . are not entitled to an
assumption of truth.” Moss v. Secret Serv.,
572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679) (brackets in original) (internal quotation
marks omitted). The court discounts these allegations because
“they do nothing more than state a legal
conclusion-even if that conclusion is cast in the form of a
factual allegation. Id. (citing Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679).
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Fed.R.Civ.P. requires a complaint to
“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). A claim is facially
plausible when the pleaded facts allow the court to draw a
reasonable inference, based on judicial experience and common
sense, that the defendant is liable for the alleged conduct.
See Id. at 678-9. The standard asks for more than a
mere possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.
Id. at 678. Where a complaint pleads facts that are
merely consistent with a theory of liability, “it stops
short of the line between possibility and plausibility of
entitlement to relief.” Id. Therefore,
“for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the
non-conclusory ‘factual content, ' and reasonable
inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of
a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.”
Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.