United States District Court, D. Arizona
Brenda R. Madison, Plaintiff,
Sonora Quest Laboratories, et al., Defendants.
Honorable G. Murray Snow United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendant Sonora Quest Laboratories, et
al.'s ("Sonora Quest") Amended Motion to
Dismiss. (Doc. 14.) For the following reasons, the Court
grants the motion in part and denies it in part.
2013, Plaintiff Brenda Madison filed a charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging
employment discrimination and retaliation against her former
employer Sonora Quest. The EEOC issued her a Notice of Right
to Sue on June 18, 2015.
September 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in Yuma
County Superior Court, which she later amended on November
18, 2015. In 2011, while employed at Sonora Quest, Plaintiff
filed an internal complaint against her supervisor on the
grounds of racial discrimination. Plaintiff alleged her
supervisor intimidated her, stalked her, and wrote her up
without cause. Plaintiff also claimed that in 2013, her
supervisor denied her paid time off and that she was assigned
a heavier workload than her co-workers. A month later,
Plaintiff complained about her supervisor to Sonora
Quest's human resources department; the supervisor's
conduct soon stopped. But on October 13, 2013, Plaintiff was
notified of her termination because Sonora Quest had lost a
contract. Plaintiff claims that she was "discriminated
against, retaliated against, harassed, disciplined with
cause, denied leave, subjected to different terms and
conditions of employment, slander/defamation, and eventually
laid off, which [she] believe[s] to be racial." (Doc. 12
complaint also alleges she had difficulty obtaining
subsequent employment because of defamatory statements made
about her by Defendants.
Title VII Claims
the statutory provisions of Title VII, a claimant has ninety
days after receiving a notice of dismissal or,
"right-to-sue letter, " from the EEOC in which to
file a lawsuit. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f). The ninety-day
period acts as a limitation period and therefore, if a
claimant fails to file suit within this period, the action is
time-barred. E.g., Payan v. Aramark Mgmt. Servs.
Ltd. P'ship, 495 F.3d 1119, 1127 (9th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff's pro se status does not extend this
time limit. Id. Courts measure the start of the
limitations period from the date on which a right-to-sue
letter arrives at the claimant's address of record.
Id. Where this date is known, the court will deem
the claimant to have received notice on that date, regardless
of whether claimant personally saw the right-to-sue letter.
Id. In the event the date of actual receipt is
unknown, a court will apply a three-day mailing presumption
to determine notice of a right-to-sue letter. Id.
received her "right-to-sue" letter on June 18,
2015, from which Plaintiff had 90 days to file suit. However,
Plaintiff did not file her original Complaint until September
21, 2015 (96 days) after receiving her right-to-sue letter.
Therefore, even with a three-day mailing presumption to
determine notice of a right-to-sue letter, Plaintiff failed
to file her race discrimination and retaliation claims within
the required 90-day period. Plaintiff's Title VII race
discrimination and retaliation claims are time barred and are
pro se litigant, Plaintiff's Complaint must be
construed liberally. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5,
9 (1980) ("It is settled law that the allegations of [a
pro se plaintiff's] complaint, ‘however
inartfully pleaded' are held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'") (citations omitted); Eldridge v.
Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) ("The
Supreme Court has instructed federal courts to liberally
construe the ‘inartful pleading' of pro se
litigants.") (citation omitted); Ashelman v.
Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1078 (9th Cir. 1986) ("[W]e
hold [plaintiff's] pro se pleadings to a less
stringent standard than formal pleadings prepared by
lawyers."); Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police
Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988) ("In
civil rights cases where the plaintiff appears pro
se, the court must construe the pleading liberally and
must afford plaintiff the benefit of any doubt.").
alleges that Sonora Quest made defamatory comments about her
that negatively affected her ability to find subsequent
employment; although, her Complaint does not specifically
identify any particular statement. Plaintiff's Complaint
does allege that "[o]n 09/24/2013 Elizabeth Correa told
me that Beatriz Garcia had told her that I was prejudice[d]
against Hispanics and that Elizabeth should not speak to
me." (Doc. 12 at ¶ V.) The allegation, however,
does not assert that this single instance was the same and
only communication made to her prospective employers; rather,