United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT <ECF No. 11).
For the following reasons, DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT (ECF No. 11) will be
Guy Varner Hazlegrove, proceeding pro se, sues
Defendant Colonial Pipeline Co. ("Colonial") for
"Harassment," "Sexual Discrimination,"
and "Wrongful Termination under the Americans with
Disabilities Act." Am. Compl. 2 (ECF No.
Court previously dismissed Hazlegrove's original
Complaint because he had failed to bring the federal Title
VII or ADA claims asserted therein within 90 days of his
presumed receipt of the right-to-sue notice from the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") as
required by statute. Mem. Op. 8-14 (ECF No. 8). The Court
considered the EEOC right-to-sue notice that Hazlegrove
attached to his original Complaint, which reflected that it
was mailed to Hazlegrove's current address on March 30,
2016. Id. at 11-13. Applying the presumption of mail
receipt, the Court found that Hazlegrove had received the
notice in early April 2016, but did not file his lawsuit
until April 2018, well outside the 90-day window.
Id. at 13. Nothing in the Complaint suggested that
equitable tolling applied, so the Court found
Hazlegrove's federal claims to be time-barred and
dismissed them. Id. at 13-14.
Hazlegrove was proceeding pro se and because in his
briefing Hazlegrove suggested that he did not receive the
right-to-sue notice, the Court dismissed the claims without
prejudice. Mem. Op. 14 (ECF No. 8) . The Court then ordered
Hazlegrove to "file an Amended Complaint, in perspective
of the. . . Memorandum Opinion" by September 14, 2018.
ECF No. 9. Hazlegrove filed an Amended Complaint on September
13, 2018. ECF No. 10. As it did with the original Complaint,
Colonial moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). ECF No. 11.
Factual Context and the Amended Complaint
Amended Complaint once again alleges that a series of events
between May 2014 and September 1, 2015 at
Colonial-Hazlegrove's place of employment-gave rise to
his claims. See Am. Compl. 2-3 (ECF No. 10). The
substance of those events is not relevant to the present
Amended Complaint then lays out the alleged timeline of
Hazlegrove's dealings with the EEOC in a section titled
"Factual Background." Am. Compl. 4. Hazlegrove
alleges that he started the process with the EEOC in January
2016, and was told that his case could take two years to
resolve. Id. Hazlegrove alleges no facts indicating
that he contacted the EEOC between January 2016 and March
2017. See Am. Compl. 2-5. Hazlegrove alleges that,
in March 2017, he was told by the EEOC that his case was
still open. Id. at 4. Then, in June 2017, he alleges
that he was told by the EEOC that his case had been closed in
March 2016 and that EEOC would mail him a letter to that
effect. Id. Hazlegrove goes on to
allege that the EEOC could not provide him proof of mailing
of the right-to-sue notice. Id. Hazlegrove concludes
the "Factual Background" of the Amended Complaint
with: "Hazlegrove testifies that NO LETTER HAS EVER BEEN
RECEIVED VIA MAIL from the eeoc." Id. (emphasis
and capitalization in original).
Amended Complaint continues with an "Argument"
section. Am. Compl. 4-5. The crux of that argument is that
Hazlegrove never received the right-to-sue notice and
therefore cannot be blamed for not filing his lawsuit in
time. Id. He quotes language from the EEOC website:
"Once you receive a Notice of Right to Sue, you must
file your lawsuit within 90 days. This deadline is set by
law." Id. at 4. He then reiterates that he
never received the notice, that EEOC cannot provide evidence
it was ever mailed, that he made repeated requests for the
notice, that "the clerk of court" asked him if he
had his right to sue notice when he filed his lawsuit, and
that he was told conflicting information by the EEOC in 2017
about whether his case was still open. Id. at 5. He
then discusses how both the assault and wrongful termination
complaints were presented to the EEOC. Id.
concludes the Amended Complaint by asking the Court to
"recognize the due diligence expended by a layman who
has followed all instructions to the letter as given by
government officials in filing his complaint." Am.
Compl. 5. He also asks the Court to "recognize the
egregious nature" of his termination. Id.
STANDARDS GOVERNING FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6)
to dismiss based upon Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) are evaluated
under the following standards:
In [considering a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss],
we must accept the factual allegations of the complaint as
true and construe them in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. To survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the
"complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, 'to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" A claim is "plausible
on its face," if a plaintiff can demonstrate more than
"a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." While considering a 12(b)(6) motion, we
"may consider documents attached to the complaint or the
motion to dismiss 'so long as they are integral to the
complaint and authentic.'"
Rockville Cars, LLC v. City of Rockville, 891 F.3d
141, 145 (4th Cir. 2018) (citations omitted).
construe pro se complaints liberally. As the Supreme
Court has instructed, "[a] document filed pro
se is 'to be liberally construed,' and 'a
pro se 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) (per curiam) (citations omitted). That
said, “[p]rinciples requiring generous construction of