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Rhodes v. Scottsdale Community College

United States District Court, D. Arizona

May 14, 2019

James Rhodes, Plaintiff,
Scottsdale Community College, Defendant.



         On January 10, 2019, Defendant Scottsdale Community College (“SCC”) filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 14.) Plaintiff did not respond. On February 12, 2019, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Disposition. (Doc. 15.) Again, Plaintiff did not respond. The Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why he had not responded to the motions and warned Plaintiff that failing to respond could result in dismissal of his case. (Doc. 17.) Plaintiff then filed a motion for an extension of time to file a response because he claimed he had not received the motions. (Doc. 18.) Without explanation, Plaintiff also attached an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Intake Questionnaire, a letter, and a series of emails. Id. Plaintiff's deadline for filing a response has passed, and no response has been filed. The Court has reviewed the filings and will grant Defendant's motions.

         I. Complaint

         Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that SCC discriminated against him on the basis of age and race. (Doc. 1.) He claims that he sought employment as a teacher. Id. An unnamed Culinary Director told Plaintiff he was too old, lied about hiring procedures, sent defamatory emails to hiring staff, harassed him, and filed false evaluations. Id. Apparently Plaintiff was hired, because his employment was then terminated and given to another instructor. Id.

         II. Standard of Review

         A motion under 12(b)(6) must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, “it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint must contain more than “a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.” Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. Furthermore, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.

         “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. So, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must assess whether there are other “more likely explanations” for a defendant's conduct. Id. at 681.

         If the plaintiff “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” the District Court must dismiss the claim. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). But, a “complaint [filed by a pro se litigant] ‘must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam)). While dismissal is appropriate if the complaint's deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment, if the pleading can be remedied through the addition of facts, the claimant should be granted an opportunity to amend a complaint prior to final dismissal. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000).

         III. Discrimination and Retaliation Claims

         Plaintiff potentially raises three claims in his Complaint: age discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation. A complaint of racial discrimination in employment must plead facts supporting the conclusion that a plaintiff: (1) belongs to a protected class; “(2) . . . performed . . . [his] job satisfactorily; (3) . . . suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) . . . [was] treated . . . differently than a similarly situated employee who does not belong to the same protected class as . . . plaintiff.” Cornwell v. Electra Cent. Credit Union, 439 F.3d 1018, 1028 (9th Cir. 2006).

         Furthermore, a claimant can establish a claim of age discrimination if he pleads facts demonstrating: (1) he is over forty years old; (2) he suffered an adverse employment action; (3) he was qualified for the position; and (4) he was replaced with a younger person with similar qualifications or under facts suggesting discrimination. See Diaz v. Eagle Produce Ltd., 521 F.3d 1201, 1207-08 (9th Cir. 2008).

         Finally, “to establish a prima facie case of retaliation, a plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) a protected activity; (2) an adverse employment action; and (3) a causal link between the protected activity and the adverse employment action.” Cornwell, 439 F.3d at 1034-35.

         IV. Motion to Dismiss

         Defendant's Motion to Dismiss argues that SCC is not a jural entity and is therefore not a properly named defendant. Furthermore, Plaintiff has pleaded insufficient facts to ...

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