United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING DEFENDANTS* MOTION TO
DISMISS IN PART AND REMANDING THE CASE)
E. Hudson, United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Amazon.com, Inc.
("Amazon"), Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc.
("ISS"), and Mahmoud Omari's (collectively, the
"Defendants") Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (ECF No. 6),
and Defendant Mahmoud Omari's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c)
(ECF No. 8).
Defendants included an appropriate Roseboro Notice in both
motions, as required by Local Civil Rule 7(K) and the Fourth
Circuit's decision in Roseboro v. Garrison, 528
F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975).
parties have filed memoranda supporting their respective
positions. The Court will dispense with oral argument
because the facts and legal contentions are adequately
presented in the materials before the Court, and oral
argument would not aid in the decisional process. E.D. Va.
Local Civ. R. 7(J).
reasons stated herein, the Court will dismiss Counts IX, X,
and XI of Plaintiffs Complaint, which allege claims under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000, et seq. ("Title VH"). As the parties
are not diverse and those Counts are the only ones arising
under federal law, the Court finds that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction over the rest of Plaintiff s
claims. Therefore, the Court will REMAND this case to the
Circuit Court for the City of Richmond, Virginia, where
Plaintiff initially brought suit.
required by Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the Court assumes Plaintiffs well-pleaded
allegations to be true and views all facts in the light most
favorable to him. T.G. Slater & Son v. Donald P.
& Patricia A. Brennan LLC, 385 F.3d 836, 841 (4th
Cir. 2004) (citing Mylan Labs, Inc. v. Matkari, 7
F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). At this stage, the
Court's analysis is both informed and constrained by the
four corners of Plaintiff s Complaint. Viewed through
this lens, the facts are as follows.
around September 2014, Plaintiff, a Virginia citizen of
Filipino descent, began working as a "Stow
Associate" through ISS in the packaging department at
Amazon Fulfillment Center RIC2 in Chesterfield, Virginia.
(Compl. ¶ 1; ECF No. 1-1.) On January 29, 2015, Amazon
hired Plaintiff as a permanent employee in its receiving
department. (Id. ¶ 3.)
October 1, 2015, and December 22, 2015, Defendants Mahmoud
Omari and Malik Omari (collectively, the
"Omaris")-both citizens of Virginia-were Amazon
employees and worked alongside Plaintiff. (Id.
¶¶ 6-7.) During that time, Plaintiff summarily
contends that Mahmoud Omari harassed him by making derogatory
statements about his race and national origin. (Id.
¶¶ 8-9, 13.) The only racially tinged statement
that Plaintiff alleges Mahmoud Omari made was, "[Y]ou
philippinos [sic] are all alike and [too]... slow
for me." (Id. ¶ 13.) Also during that
period, Mahmoud Omari repeatedly went to Plaintiffs work
station asking for work and became angry when Plaintiff told
him that the work was not yet ready. (Id.
¶¶ 11-14.) Plaintiff filed verbal complaints with
his department supervisor, Kayla Laughlin, on a weekly basis
in response to this conduct. (Id. ¶ 179.)
December 22, 2015, Mahmoud Omari went to Plaintiffs work
station and demanded unfinished assembly line work.
(Id. ¶ 15.) After being told that it was not
ready, Mahmoud Omari began to argue with Plaintiff.
(Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff asserts that Mahmoud
Omari threatened to kill him and told Plaintiff that he would
be waiting outside to carry out his threat. (Id.
¶ 17.) Following the argument, Plaintiff again filed a
verbal complaint with his supervisor. (Id. ¶
35.) Laughlin told Plaintiff to go on a break, without taking
any action to reprimand Mahmoud Omari or protect Plaintiff.
his break, Plaintiff decided to go to his car in the Amazon
parking lot. (Id. ¶ 38.) The Omaris followed
him as he left the building and walked to his vehicle.
(Id. ¶ 45.) Plaintiff asserts that upon
reaching his car, the Omaris grabbed him, jumped on him,
punched him, and choked him. (Id. ¶ 50.) At
some point during the altercation, Plaintiff was able to
escape to his vehicle. (Id. ¶ 79.) While there,
Plaintiff grabbed a toy gun- which he admits "appear[ed]
to be a firearm"-pointed it at his assailants, and put
it in his pocket. (Id. ¶¶ 84, 87.) In
spite of this perceived threat, the Omaris continued to beat
him. (Id. ¶ 86.)
the altercation, the Omaris told a Chesterfield Police
Officer that Plaintiff had pointed a firearm at them.
(Id. ¶ 73.) Plaintiff was subsequently arrested
and charged pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-282.
(Id. ¶ 99.) After reviewing video footage from
the Amazon parking lot, the Chesterfield General District
Court dismissed the charge. (Id.)
fired Plaintiff because of his involvement in the December
22, 2015, altercation. (Id. ¶ 187
("[P]laintiff['s] job was terminated on the basis of
misconduct for being in an altercation.").) Amazon did
not take any adverse employment action against the Omaris or
charge them with misconduct for the incident. (Id.
¶ 188, 190.)
filed an eleven-count Complaint against the Defendants and
Malik Omari in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond,
Virginia, on September 29, 2016. The Defendants timely
removed the case to this Court on October 27, 2016. (ECF No.
1.) The Court finds that it has original subject-matter
jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1367(a).
eleven counts, the Court will only address those that concern
matters of federal law: race and national origin
discrimination in violation of Title VII (Count IX);
harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment in
violation of Title VII (Count X); and retaliation in
violation of Title VII (Count XI).
LEGAL STANDARDS a. 12(b)(1)
motion to dismiss made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) challenges the court's jurisdiction
over the subject matter of the complaint. In resolving
motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), a court may consider
affidavits, depositions, or live testimony without converting
the motion into one for summary judgment. Williams v.
United States, 50 F.3d 299, 304 (4th Cir. 1995);
Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219 (4th Cir. 1982).
Furthermore, within the context of a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to
dismiss, a court may resolve factual questions to determine
whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction. Thigpen v.
United States, 800 F.2d 393, 396 (4th Cir. 1986),
overruled on other grounds, Sheridan v. United
States, 487 U.S. 392 (1988).
subject-matter jurisdiction implicates a federal court's
constitutional power to act, it may be raised at any time
either by the court sua sponte or by one of the
parties. Plyler v. Moore, 129 F.3d 728, 731 n.6 (4th
Cir. 1997). The burden of demonstrating subject-matter
jurisdiction resides with the Plaintiff. Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States,
945 F.2d, 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency
of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests
surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses." Republican Party of N.C.
v. Martin,980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citation
omitted). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
"require only 'a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, '
in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the
... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'"
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson,355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
A complaint need not assert "detailed factual
allegations, " but must contain "more than labels
and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Thus, the "[f]actual