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Dinkens v. Creative Business Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

September 4, 2013

SHEYVETTE D. DINKENS, Plaintiff,
v.
CREATIVE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, LLC and KRISTINA DIETRICK, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

RICHARD D. ROGERS, District Judge.

This is an action alleging retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and tortious interference with an expected business relationship in violation of state law. This case is before the court upon defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff is Sheyvette Dinkens, an African-American female. Defendants are Creative Business Solutions, LLC ("CBS") and Kristina Dietrick who is alleged to be the president of defendant CBS.

Plaintiff asserts that she was offered an opportunity to work for United Way of Greater Topeka ("United Way") but that this offer was withdrawn because of defendants' actions which were motivated by a desire to retaliate against plaintiff for pursuing a race discrimination claim against a client of defendants.

I. THE COMPLAINT'S ALLEGATIONS

The complaint alleges that defendant CBS is a human resources company which has done work for a former employer of plaintiff, Florence Crittenton Services of Topeka, Inc. ("Florence Crittenton"), and United Way. Plaintiff separated from employment with Florence Crittenton in December 2010 and later filed an administrative charge of discrimination in 2011 and a lawsuit in 2012 against Florence Crittenton alleging race and disability discrimination. The lawsuit is no longer pending.

Prior to filing the lawsuit against Florence Crittenton, plaintiff applied for a position with United Way. She submitted a resume to United Way but did not list Florence Crittenton as a prior employer "due to limited space on a resume and her desire to include significant volunteer and employment positions that pertain to the position she sought with United Way." Doc. No. 1, ¶ 13.

United Way interviewed and decided to hire plaintiff. Plaintiff accepted the offer. Plaintiff was not asked during the interview if there were any employment positions she had previously held that were not listed on her resume, nor did she offer such information. Pursuant to its procedures, United Way informed CBS of its decision to hire plaintiff. According to the complaint, upon learning of this hiring decision, defendant Dietrick "immediately contacted Miriam Krehbiel, president of United Way and said she was familiar with plaintiff." Doc. No. 1, ¶ 16. The complaint continues to allege that:

Dietrick asked Krehbiel to send her plaintiff's application for employment, explaining that there were "red flags" concerning plaintiff and that she would not be a "good fit" with United Way. Krehbiel stated there was no application, only a resume, which she then forwarded to Dietrick.
Dietrick later contacted Krehbiel and told her that plaintiff had not listed on her resume Florence Crittenton as an employer.
In consultation with Dietrick, Krehbiel decided to call Florence Crittenton. After contacting Florence Crittenton, and again in consultation with Dietrick, Krehbiel decided to withdraw the offer of employment to plaintiff.

Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 16-18.

Plaintiff further alleges that defendants were aware of plaintiff's discrimination claims against Florence Crittenton because they assisted Florence Crittenton in defending plaintiff's administrative charge. Plaintiff asserts that "defendants retaliated against plaintiff by falsely stating to Krehbiel that there were red flags' concerning plaintiff, and that she would not be a good fit' with United Way." Doc. No. 1, ¶ 21. Plaintiff asserts that in reliance upon these alleged false statements, United Way withdrew the offer of employment to plaintiff, causing plaintiff financial and emotional injury. Plaintiff further asserts that defendants' conduct constituted intentional and wrongful interference with an expected employment relationship.

II. MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARDS

FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a) requires that a complaint contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." The Supreme Court has stated that a complaint must provide a defendant with "fair notice" of the claims against it and the grounds for relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6), a court may dismiss a complaint when it does not contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Id. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and parentheticals omitted). This means that the factual allegations should ...


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