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Taylor v. CVS, Inc.

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

July 10, 2018

JACQUELINE LENORLIA TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
CVS. INC/CAREMARK, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          M. HANNAH LAUCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. On October 30, 2017, the Court issued a Memorandum Order, (ECF No. 12), granting Defendant CVS, Inc/Caremark's ("CVS") Motion to Dismiss[1] filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[2] (ECF No. 7.) On November 6, 2017, Plaintiff Jacqueline Lenorlia Taylor filed a Notice of Appeal. (ECF No. 13.) While her appeal was pending, Taylor filed additional documents in this Court asking this Court to reconsider its decision and opposing the (already granted) Motion to Dismiss. (ECF Nos. 15, 16.) CVS opposed the consideration of these filings because of the pending appeal. (ECF No. 17.) On April 27, 2018, the Fourth Circuit dismissed Taylor's appeal for lack of jurisdiction and, noting Taylor's claim that she did not receive CVS's Motion to Dismiss, remanded the case to this Court for further proceedings. (ECF No. 18.) On June 1, 2018, the Court received a letter from Taylor requesting a resolution in this case. (ECF No. 21.)

         Accordingly, the Court will vacate its October 30, 2017 Memorandum Order to consider the assertions set forth in Taylor's Memorandum in Support of Her Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss.[3] (The "Memorandum," ECF No. 16.) Construing her allegations liberally[4] in tandem with the assertions raised in her Memorandum, Taylor's Complaint nonetheless fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Court summarizes its reasoning below.

         First, Taylor's claim under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 fails because it is time-barred. A plaintiff must bring a Title VI claim within two years of the action accruing.[5] The incidents Taylor alleges in her Complaint, and any potential accrual, occurred in January 2012. She filed this action in February 2017, more than five years later. The statute of limitations bars Taylor's Title VI claim. Taylor does not plausibly allege otherwise in her Complaint or Memorandum.[6]

         Second, Taylor's claim under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[7] founders because Title II does not cover CVS, a retail store. See Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc., 377 F.2d 433, 436 (4th Cir. 1967) (noting that "[r]etail stores, food markets, and the like were excluded from the Act"). Although Taylor asserts that CVS falls within the scope of Title II, she wrongly interprets Title II and does not-because she cannot-cite to any case supporting her position.

         Third, to the extent Taylor seeks to bring a claim under the Virginia Human Rights Act (the "VHRA"), [9] that attempt would fail because the VHRA does not provide a cause of action for the type of harm Taylor alleges. The VHRA creates just two private causes of actions and those apply only to discrimination against employees of certain employers.[10] Taylor asserts in her Memorandum that she "provided [the] VHRA Act [sic] only as a source of local and State Reference to support Federal Laws and did not intend the act to be utilized as a cause of action to support a remedy for type of harm suffered/suffers [sic] by Plaintiff." (Memorandum 9.) As such, Taylor brings no VHRA claim. Even if she did attempt to state a VHRA claim, it would founder. Taylor has not alleged in her Complaint, even under a liberal construction, that she was an employee of CVS, so no violation of the VHRA could exist.[11] And in contrast to her assertion otherwise, Taylor's citation to the VHRA does not bolster any federal claim she attempts to bring to this Court.

         Fourth, any possible claim brought under the Rhode Island Constitution could not proceed. The record is bereft of any factual allegations tying any event, person, or entity to Rhode Island. The Court sees no basis for Taylor to plausibly allege harm under the Rhode Island Constitution for events Taylor says happened in Midlothian, Virginia. Indeed, Taylor concedes she referred to the Rhode Island Constitution "only to show how actions of Defendant diminished their [sic] credibility by violating laws and ordinances governing the state in which their [sic] corporate headquarters is incorporated and senior officials are employed." (Memorandum 9.) Even if Taylor purported to bring a claim under the Rhode Island Constitution, and even viewing her claims most liberally, this Court could not find that she plausibly raises such a claim. Her argument that these allegations strengthen an otherwise viable federal claim also do not persuade.

         Fifth, any claim alleging that CVS breached its Code of Ethics would falter because Taylor identifies no recognized cause of action under federal or state law to bring this claim.[12] Again, Taylor concedes in her Memorandum that she included this for "emphasis." (Memorandum 10.) But this "emphasis" does not render any federal or other claim viable as Taylor suggests it would.

         Finally, Taylor's retaliation claim fails because she identifies no basis for that cause of action. Even a liberal construction of Taylor's "Code of Ethics" or "Retaliation" claims does not establish a plausible basis for relief.[13] Taylor's assertion that CVS's "discriminatory actions are in violation of the First Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. 1981-83" similarly fails to establish a plausible basis for relief because it amounts to a conclusory statement not supported by factual allegations.[14] (Memorandum 11.)

         Accordingly, the Court will vacate its October 30, 2017 Memorandum Order and grant the Motion to Dismiss. Given Taylor's pro se status, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without prejudice. An appropriate Order shall issue.

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Notes:

[1] CVS provided Taylor with appropriate notice pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975).

[2] Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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."' BellAtl Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (omission in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiffs cannot satisfy this standard with complaints containing only "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. (citations omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). Instead, a plaintiff must assert facts that rise above speculation and conceivability to those stating a claim that is "plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "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 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). In considering a motion ...


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