United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Danville Division
JACKSON L. KISER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Primland, Ltd.'s
Motion to Dismiss. [ECF No. 9.] Plaintiff Carla Cook Majure
filed a response, and Primland filed its reply. Since that
time, Plaintiff has secured counsel and is no longer
proceeding pro se. All of her briefing, however, was
completed without the assistance of counsel, and her
Complaint is properly considered a pro se pleading.
After considering the pleadings and arguments of the parties,
Primland's motion to dismiss will be denied.
STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL
Carla Majure (“Plaintiff”) applied for the
position of Spa Manager with Defendant Primland, LTD
(“Primland”). During the interview process,
Plaintiff was advised that the general manager of Primland,
Mara Bouvier,  had assigned the position of interim spa
manager to a young male with no prior management experience.
Bouvier stated to Plaintiff that she desired a male for the
position, “because she [Bouvier] felt a male could
better control the mostly female staff.”
five interviews, Plaintiff received an offer of employment
from Bouvier “with a salary lower than the stated
salary range.” Plaintiff was also advised that the
offer “included greater demands on [her] than on others
with more supervision planned for [her] than others.”
The Director of Human Resources, Penny Morgan, told Plaintiff
that Bouvier did not want to hire Plaintiff, but that Bouvier
was being pressured by Primland's owners to fill the
position. Morgan also advised Plaintiff that, if she accepted
the position, Bouvier “would apply unreasonable demands
so that [Plaintiff] would leave.” Morgan asserted that
Bouvier had done this to the previous female spa manager.
Plaintiff declined the job offer. The position was filled by
a male with less experience. He was hired at a higher salary
and “without the unequal terms and conditions of
employment” that Plaintiff maintains were contained in
her job offer.
filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission and received her Dismissal and Notice
of Rights on February 14, 2017. She filed her Complaint in
this court on May 16, 2017. On August 29, 2017, Primland
filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. In determining facial plausibility, the court
must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true.
Id. The Complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief” and sufficient “[f]actual
allegations . . . to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level . . . .” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 (internal quotation marks omitted). Therefore, the
Complaint must “allege facts sufficient to state all
the elements of [the] claim.” Bass v. E.I. Dupont
de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003).
Although “a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations,
” a pleading that merely offers “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, her Complaint,
“‘however inartfully pleaded, must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976)). “Courts must allow a pro se
complaint to go forward where the complaint is broad and
contains a ‘potentially cognizable claim' that the
plaintiff can later particularize, ” Peck v.
Merletti, 64 F.Supp.2d 599, 602 (E.D. Va. 1999).
discussing the specifics of my ruling, I note that both
parties have improperly injected additional facts into
consideration of this motion. Plaintiff, who is proceeding
pro se, was likely unaware that her factual
enhancements were improper; Primland should have known
better. The error is compounded by Primland's statement
(in its reply) that Plaintiff's factual assertions were
improper after including its own in its opening brief. The
rules are quite clear: a motion to dismiss, under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), is limited to the facts
alleged in the Complaint. I would be within my rights to
refuse to rule on Primland's motion at this point,
see Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d), but I will exclude both
sides' improper factual matters and rule on the motion.
form Complaint appears to assert two claims:
“[F]ailure to hire me” and “[u]nequal terms
and conditions of my employment.” At oral argument,
Plaintiff stated that her allegations are not two separate
claims, but rather are both elements of a single
failure-to-hire claim. As a result, her Complaint will be
construed as asserting a single claim of discriminatory
failure-to-hire against Primland.
early stage, in order to state a claim for discriminatory
failure-to-hire, Plaintiff “is required to allege
sufficient facts to establish a plausible basis for believing
that she was [not hired] ‘because of [her]
gender.'” Bradley v. United Parcel Serv.,
Inc., No. 3:15-cv-4734, 2016 WL 1521559, at *8 (D.S.C.
Mar. 10, 2016) (citing McCleary-Evans v. Md. Dept. of
Transp., State Highway Admin., 780 F.3d 582, 585 (4th
Cir. 2015)) (Report and Recommendation), adopted by
2016 WL 1448484 (Apr. 13, 2016). She is not required to plead
every element of the cause of action. “‘[A]n
employment discrimination plaintiff need not plead a prima
facie case of discrimination . . . to survive a motion to
dismiss, ' because ‘[t]he prima facie case . . . is
an evidentiary standard, not a pleading requirement, ...