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Walker v. Pheasant Ridge Senior Living

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

July 23, 2018

SHIRLEY M. WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
PHEASANT RIDGE SENIOR LIVING and ANN DUNBAR, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge

         This pro se employment discrimination action is presently before the court on the defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant the defendants' motion.

         Background

         The plaintiff, Shirley M. Walker, is an African-American woman over the age of 50. She was previously employed at Pheasant Ridge Senior Living ("Pheasant Ridge"), where Ann Dunbar currently serves as the executive director. Walker alleges that she was constructively discharged in December of 2016. In February of 2017, Walker learned that a younger Caucasian employee had been selected for a position for which she had previously applied.

         On May 10, 2018, Walker filed the instant action in the Circuit Court for the City of Roanoke, asserting claims of discrimination on the bases of race, color, and age, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"). Walker named Pheasant Ridge and Dunbar as defendants.

         Walker's complaint includes several attachments, including the charge of discrimination that she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Virginia Division of Human Rights on January 29, 2018. Walker also submitted a copy of the "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" letter (right-to-sue letter) that she received from the EEOC, which informed her that the charge of discrimination had not been timely filed. The letter indicates that it was mailed on February 5, 2018.

         The defendants removed the case to this court on June 8, 2018. Upon removal, the defendants moved to dismiss Walker's claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The defendants' motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for review.

         Standard of Review

         Rule 12(b)(6) permits a party to move for dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When deciding a motion to dismiss under this rule, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and draw all reasonable factual inferences in the plaintiffs favor. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court may "consider exhibits attached to the complaint." Cooksey v. Futrell, 721 F.3d 226, 234 (4th Cir. 2013) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         Discussion

         The defendants have moved to dismiss Walker's claims of discrimination under Title VII and the ADEA on three grounds. First, the defendants argue that Walker failed to timely file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Second, the defendants contend that Walker failed to file the instant action within 90 days of receiving the right-to-sue letter from the EEOC. Third, the defendants argue that Dunbar is not a proper defendant to an action under Title VII or the ADEA. For the following reasons, the court concludes that all three arguments have merit.

         I. Failure to File a Timely Charge of Discrimination

         "Before a plaintiff may file suit under Title VII or the ADEA, [she] is required to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC." Jones v. Calvert Grp.. Ltd.. 551 F.3d 297, 300 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) (Title VII) and 29 U.S.C. § 626(d) (ADEA)). In a "deferral state" like Virginia, the charge must be filed within 300 days of the last discriminatory act alleged. Edelman v. Lynchburg College. 300 F.3d 400, 404 (4th Cir. 2002). This limitation period applies to claims under Title VII and the ADEA. Jones. 551 F.3d at 300. Failure to timely file a charge of discrimination precludes relief under both statutes. See Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 109 (2002) ("A claim is time barred if it is not filed within these limits."); Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv. Co.. 80 F.3d 954, 962 (4th Cir. 1996) ("Charges filed outside that time frame are barred .. ..").

         In this case, the plaintiff alleges that she was constructively discharged in December of 2016, and that she learned in February of 2017 that a younger, less qualified individual of a different race had received a promotion for which she had applied. Because both events occurred more than 300 days before Walker filed her ...


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