United States District Court, D. Kansas
BONITA L. JONES, Plaintiff,
MARITZ RESEARCH COMPANY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SAM A. CROW, Senior District Judge.
This pro se employment discrimination case comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim, or alternatively, for a more definite statement.
Pro se Complaints
Pro se complaints, however inartfully pleaded, must be liberally construed, and are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007). See Martinez v. Garden, 430 F.3d 1302, 1304 (10th Cir. 2005). "[The] court, however, will not supply additional factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint or construct a legal theory on plaintiff's behalf." Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (quotations and citations omitted). The court should not be the pro se litigant's advocate, Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991), and will not accept as true conclusory allegations unsupported by factual allegations. Oxendine v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272 (10th Cir. 2001).
To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a complaint must have facial plausibility.
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. [ Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)] 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. Id. at 556 [127 S.Ct. 1955]. 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. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a Defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. at 557 [127 S.Ct. 1955].
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868, 884 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. "[C]ourts should look to the specific allegations in the complaint to determine whether they plausibly support a legal claim for relief." Alvarado v. KOB-TV, L.L.C., 493 F.3d 1210, 1215 n. 2 (10th Cir. 2007). "While the 12(b)(6) standard does not require that Plaintiff establish a prima facie case in [his] complaint, the elements of each alleged cause of action help to determine whether Plaintiff has set forth a plausible claim." Khalik v. United Air Lines, 671 F.3d 1188, 1192 (10th Cir. 2012).
"The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiff's... complaint alone is legally sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted." Miller v. Glanz, 948 F.2d 1562, 1565 (10th Cir. 1991). The court accepts all well-pled factual allegations as true and views these allegations in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 558 U.S. 1148, 130 S.Ct. 1142, 175 L.Ed.2d 973 (2010). The court, however, is not under a duty to accept legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937. "Thus, mere labels and conclusions' and formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' will not suffice." Khalik, 671 F.3d at 1191 (10th Cir.2012) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955).
In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court is limited to assessing the legal sufficiency of the allegations contained within the four corners of the complaint. Archuleta v. Wagner, 523 F.3d 1278, 1281 (10th Cir. 2008). But in considering the complaint in its entirety, the Court also examines any documents "incorporated into the complaint by reference, " Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322, 127 S.Ct. 2499, 168 L.Ed.2d 179 (2007), and documents attached to the complaint, Rosenfield v. HSBC Bank, USA, 681 F.3d 1172, 1189 (10th Cir. 2012) (quotations and citations omitted).
The first page of Plaintiff's complaint states that she is alleging employment discrimination under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. But the following page directed her, "[i]f you are claiming age discrimination, check one of the following, " and she checked neither. Dk. 1, p. 2. Her complaint subsequently alleges that she believes she "was discriminated against because of" her "race or color... black American, " and her "national origin... black American, " and that she stated the same reasons in her EEOC charge of discrimination. Dk. 1, p. 3.
But Plaintiff's EEOC charge checks the box only for race discrimination, and not the boxes for color, national origin, ...