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Bile v. Rremc, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

June 24, 2015

AMANGOUA J. BILE, Plaintiff,


ROBERT E. PAYNE, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on DEFENDANT DENNY'S CORPORATION'S FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1) MOTION TO DISMISS (Docket No. 8). For the reasons stated below, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.


On January 27, 2015, Amangoua J. Bile ("Bile" or "Plaintiff") filed a civil action against RREMC, LLC ("RREMC") and Denny's Corporation ("Denny's") (collectively, "Defendants") alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII") and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981"). See Compl. ¶¶ 1, 4-6 (Docket No. 1). RREMC is a Florida corporation with restaurants located in the Commonwealth of Virginia doing business under the trade name "Denny's." Id . ¶ 5. Denny's is a South Carolina corporation that owns the franchise license for "Denny's" operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Id . ¶ 6. Bile alleges that the Defendants failed to promote him because of his race and national origin, id. ¶¶ 45, 56, and retaliated against him because of his complaints of discrimination, id. ¶¶ 49, 50, 60, 61.


Denny's moves to dismiss Bile's claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. "Where, as here, a defendant seeks dismissal on the ground that the complaint, on its face, fails to state a basis for subject matter jurisdiction, courts must assume all facts in the complaint are true, thus providing the plaintiff with the same procedural protections as a Rule 12(b)(6) determination.'" Carter v. Arlington Pub. Sch. Sys., 82 F.Supp.2d 561, 564 (E.D. Va. 2000) (quoting Lane v. David P. Jacobson & Co., 880 F.Supp. 1091, 1094 (E.D. Va. 1995)) (internal brackets omitted). Unlike a motion under 12(b)(6), however, "courts may consider evidence outside of the complaint to resolve factual disputes concerning jurisdiction without converting the motion into one for summary judgment." Id . (citing Williams v. United States, 50 F.3d 299, 304 (4th Cir. 1995)).

I. Plaintiff's Title VII Claims

Denny's argues that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction with respect to Bile's Title VII claims against it because Bile "failed to exhaust his administrative remedies against Denny's Corp. by naming and including this entity during the administrative phase before the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")]." Def. Denny's Corp.'s Mem. of Law in Supp. of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (1) Mot. to Dismiss, at 2 {Docket No. 9). Both Bile and Denny's recognize that a plaintiff pursuing a claim of discrimination must first exhaust the administrative remedies available to him. Tinsley v. First Union Nat'l Bank, 155 F.3d 435 (4th Cir. 1998); Sydnor v. Fairfax County, Va., 681 F.3d 591, 593 (4th Cir. 2012). "[A] failure by the plaintiff to exhaust administrative remedies concerning a Title VII claim deprives the federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction over the claim." Jones v. Calvert Group, Ltd., 551 F.3d 297, 301 (4th Cir. 2009); see also Carter, 82 F.Supp.2d at 564.

Under Title VII, a civil action can only be prosecuted "against the respondent named in the charge... by the person claiming to be aggrieved." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (f) (1); see also Causey v. Balog, 162 F.3d 795, 800 (4th Cir. 1998); Mickel v. South Carolina State Empl. Serv., 377 F.2d 239 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 389 U.S. 877 (1967).

"A party not named in the initial charge with the EEOC, ordinarily, may not be subsequently sued for alleged discrimination. This requirement serves two purposes: (i) notifying the charged party of the asserted violation and (ii) bringing the charged party before the EEOC to facilitate the goal of securing voluntary compliance with the law."

Carter, 82 F.Supp.2d at 568.

Here, Bile filed a singular Charge of Discrimination preceding the institution of this action, and it names RREMC as his only employer; lists RREMCs principal office address with no reference to Denny's or its principal office; and complains of actions taken by RREMC employees without alleging explicitly or implicitly that Denny's was directing the RREMC employees in some shape, form, or fashion. See Def. Denny's Corp.'s Mem. of Law in Supp. of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 3 (Docket No. 9-3). Similarly, the EEOCs Dismissal and Notice of Rights, dated October 31, 2014 and issued to Plaintiff, reflects that it was copied only to RREMC's Human Resources Director at RREMCs corporate address. PI. Amangoua Bile's Opp. to Defs. [sic] Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 10 (Docket. No. 16-2).

Bile disputes this, claiming that Denny's was, in fact, "named and identified in Plaintiffs [sic] Charge of Discrimination." PI. Amangoua Bile's Mem. of Law in Opp. to Def. Denny's Mot. to Dismiss, at 3 (Docket. No. 16-1). That, however, is simply wrong. It is clear from the parenthetical use of the "Denny's" label next to RREMC that the "naming" in the Charge of Discrimination was solely to identify RREMC as a Denny's franchisee. The separate corporate entity of "Denny's, Corp." is nowhere to be found in the Charge of Discrimination.

Denny's, to its credit, observes in its reply that Plaintiff's counsel might be attempting to invoke the "substantial identity" exception to the rule prohibiting prosecution against a party that was not named in the administrative charge. Def. Denny's Corp.'s Reply, at 15 (Docket No. 19); see also Carter, 82 F.Supp.2d at 567-68 ("[A]n exception has been recognized for cases where there is substantial identity between the defendant and the party named in the charge."). To satisfy this exception, "courts require that the interests of the named party be so similar to the unnamed party's interests that, for the ...

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