United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Clarke has applied to work for the City of Petersburg School
Board (the "School Board") many times to no avail.
After each denied application, Clarke has filed a charge of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (the "EEOC"), followed by a suit in this
Court for violation of Title VII. The Court has dismissed
August 2015, Clarke again applied for a job with the School
Board, and the School Board did not hire him. He now claims
another violation of Title VII.
originally sued the School Board and four individuals. The
defendants moved to dismiss the case, and also moved for
sanctions against Clarke. On May 4, 2017, the Court dismissed
the claims against the four individuals with prejudice. As to
the School Board, the Court rejected the argument that claim
preclusion bars the current case. Nevertheless, the Court
dismissed the claim against the School Board, but gave Clarke
the opportunity to file a second amended complaint. The Court
did not resolve the motion for sanctions at that time.
25, 2017, Clarke filed the second amended complaint. The
School Board has again moved to dismiss. Because Clarke has
not alleged sufficient facts to establish that the School
Board did not hire him because of his prior EEOC complaints,
the Court will grant the School Board's motion to
dismiss. The Court, however, will not impose sanctions on
worked for the School Board from 2006 to 2009. In 2009, the
School Board laid him off because of a reduction in
workforce. Since then, Clarke has applied for a similar job
many times, but the School Board has not hired him.
date, Clarke has sued the School Board in this Court five
times for discrimination or retaliation based on different
rejected employment applications. See Clarke v.
Petersburg City Pub. Schs., No. 3:1 l-cv-00164-REP (EEOC
Charge No. 437-2010-00411); Clarke v. Petersburg City
Pub. Schs., No. 3:13-cv-00333-REP (EEOC Charge No.
437-2012-00731); Clarke v. Petersburg City Pub.
Schs., No. 3:14-cv-00239-REP (EEOC Charge No.
430-2013-02153); Clarke v. Petersburg City Pub.
Schs., No. 3:14-cv-00517-REP (EEOC Charge No.
437-2013-01022); Clarke v. City of Petersburg, No.
3:15-cv-00470-HEH (EEOC Charge No. 438-2014-00892).
August 2015, Clarke again unsuccessfully applied for a job
with the School Board. He says the Board rejected him because
of an EEOC charge that resulted in a right to sue letter on
April 24, 2014. He now claims unlawful retaliation.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a plaintiffs
complaint to 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 cases where the plaintiff appears
without an attorney (i.e., pro se), courts do not expect the
pro se plaintiff to frame legal issues with the clarity and
precision expected from lawyers. Accordingly, courts construe
pro se complaints liberally. Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985) This
principle of liberal construction, however, has its limits.
Id. Courts do not need to discern the unexpressed
intent of the plaintiff or to conjure up issues on the
plaintiffs behalf. See Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d
404, 413 n.3 (4th Cir. 2006); Beaudett, 775 F.2d at
defendants have moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion
gauges the sufficiency of a complaint. Goines v. Valley
Cmty. Servs. Bd, 822 F.3d 159, 165 (4th Cir. 2016).
Accordingly, in evaluating such a motion, courts typically
focus only on the complaint, documents attached to the
complaint, and documents explicitly incorporated into the
complaint by reference. Id. at 166. In appropriate
cases, however, courts may also (1) take judicial notice of
public records, such as federal court records, and (2)
consider documents submitted by the movant if the documents
are integral to the complaint and indisputably authentic.
Id; Witthohn v. Fed. Ins. Co., 164 F.App'x 395,
396 (4th Cir. 2006). When considering the complaint itself,
courts must accept all allegations as true and must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Nemet
Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d
250, 253 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing Edwards v. City of
Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th Cir. 1999)). The
principle that a court must accept all allegations as true,
however, does not apply to legal conclusions. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
the facts in light of these principles, to survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must contain
sufficient facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face. Id. "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. (quoting Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 565 (2007)).