United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Raymond A. Lackson United Stales District Judge.
the Court is American Red Cross' ("Defendant")
Motion to Dismiss Julie Easterbrooks' ("Plaintiff)
complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) ("Rule 12(b)(6) Motion"). After reviewing
the Parties' filings, the Court finds this matter is ripe
for judicial determination. For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was employed as a phlebotomist with a formal title of
Collection Specialist I, for Defendant since September 15,
2008. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 9. On or about April 1, 2015 at
approximately 5:30 p.m., Plaintiff alleges she observed her
supervisor, Trish Sorey ("Sorey"), commit a
violation when drawing blood from two donors. Id. at
¶¶ 12-13. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that
"Sorey tore the tip off her index finger glove and
placed her ungloved finger in the venipuncture area,
contaminating the sanitized site on two donors."
Id. at ¶ 14. Plaintiff reported the violation
to a supervisor, Kandice Gabriel, at the time of the
incident. Id. at ¶ 15. Instead of confronting
Sorey in the presence of the donors, Plaintiff put a stop on
the blood products in question. Id. at ¶ 16.
Plaintiff then wrote a report of the contamination and
immediately provided the report to Ms. Danielle Tuazon who
then handed said report to Ms. Brenda Fulmer. Id.
Plaintiff alleges the report was later discarded.
Id. Defendant investigated Plaintiffs report and
found that Sorey did not commit a violation. Id. at
¶ 17. Plaintiff alleges Sorey denied these violations.
April 7, 2015, six days after the incident, Plaintiffs
employment was terminated. Id. at ¶ 18. At the
termination meeting, Plaintiff alleges that several
supervisors lied and concealed their awareness of Sorey's
habit of violating procedures. Id. Defendant's
official reason for terminating Plaintiff was that she failed
to gain control of the blood products at the time of the
contamination. Id. at ¶ 19. Plaintiff contends
this reason was a pretext and the actual reason for her
termination was that she reported Sorey's safety and
health violation. Id. at ¶ 20.
around May 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed a charge of
discrimination with the Virginia Department of Labor and
Industry ("VADOLI"). Id. at ¶ 3. On
November 30, 2015, VADOLI found reasonable cause to believe
Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff for engaging in a
protected activity. Id. VADOLI attempted to
facilitate conciliation between the parties to no avail.
Despite this finding, VADOLI refused to issue a charge, but
authorized Plaintiff to sue on her own accord. ECF No. 1, Ex.
1 at 42.
initially filed this complaint in the Circuit Court of the
City of Norfolk alleging Defendant violated Virginia Code
§§ 40.1-51.1 and 40.1-51.2. et. seq. (See
Compl.). On February 15, 2017, Defendant removed this case to
federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia. ECF. No.
1. On February 22, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion
and memorandum in support. ECF. No. 4 & No. 5. On March
3, 2017, Plaintiff filed her response to Defendant's
memorandum. ECF No. 6. On March 9, 2017, Defendant filed its
Rebuttal Brief in Support of the instant motion. ECF. No. 7.
12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss alleges that a plaintiff has
"fail[ed] to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Essentially, a Rule
12(b)(6) Motion challenges the legal sufficiency of a
complaint. Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192
(4th Cir. 2009) (citing Jordan v. Alternative Resources
Corp., 458 F.3d 332, 338 (4th Cir. 2006)). Importantly,
a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion does not "resolve contests
surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses." Republic Party of North
Carolina v. Martin, 980 F.2d, 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992).
state a claim for relief, a pleading must contain "a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In
order for a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion, it
need not assert "detailed factual allegations, "
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964
(2007), but rather it must contain sufficient factual matter
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(quoting Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1955). A court must
assume the factual allegations are true and construe them
"in the light most favorable to the plaintiff."
Martin, 980 F.2d at 952. As a threshold matter, a
court must first separate the legal conclusions which are not
entitled to the assumption of truth. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct
at 1950. A court "need not accept as true unwarranted
inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments."
Eastern Shore Mkts. Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd
P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).
"must consider the complaint in its entirety, as well as
other sources courts ordinarily examine when ruling on Rule
12(b)(6) motions to dismiss, in particular, documents
incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of
which a court may take judicial notice." Tellabs,
Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 127 S.Ct. 2499,
2509 (2007). In other words, a court is not limited to the
four corners of the complaint, but may consider other
documents such as "matters of public record, orders,
items appearing in the record of the case, and exhibits
attached to the complaint whose authenticity is
unquestioned." 5B Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal
Practice and Procedure § 1357 (3d ed. 2004 and Supp.
2007). Thus, this is a context-specific task that requires
the court to draw on its "judicial experience and common
sense." Francis, 588 F.3d at 193.
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for relief
"should not be granted unless it appears to a certainty
that the plaintiff would be entitled to no relief under any
state of facts which could be provided in support of his
claim." Johnson v. Mueller, 415 F.2d 354, 354
(4th Cir. 1969); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 109
S.Ct. 1827, 1832 (1989).