United States District Court, D. Columbia.
LORETTA HILLWARE, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.
DANIEL SNYDER, ERIC SCHAFFER, BRUCE ALLEN, ROGER GOODELL, JAY
BAUMAN, Defendants: Thomas Samuel Williamson, Jr., COVINGTON
& BURLING LLP, Washington, DC.
Mehta, United States District Judge.
Loretta Hillware filed a lawsuit pro se in the
Superior Court of the District of Columbia against the owner
of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder; the team's
Vice President and General Counsel, Eric Schaffer; the
team's President, Bruce Allen; the Commissioner of the
National Football League (" NFL" ), Roger Goodell;
and the NFL's Counsel, Jay Bauman, all in their "
official" capacities. Plaintiff alleges that the
Washington Redskins (hereafter " the Team" ) and
the NFL " denied [her] work in her profession"
because she is African American, female, and a victim of
domestic violence. Compl., ECF No. 1-1 at 22. Plaintiff
states that her complaint asserts claims under " Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar state and
local laws," including the D.C. Human Rights Act, D.C.
Code § § 2-1402.11 et seq. Id. at
28, 30, 33. Her claim under Title VII prompted Defendants to
remove the case to this court on the basis of federal
question jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal, ECF
No. 1, ¶ 6. Defendants now move to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Their
grounds for dismissal include failure to exhaust
administrative remedies, failure to state a claim, and
statute of limitations. See Mem. in Supp. of
Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 3-1 [hereinafter "
Defs.' Mem." ] at 5-9.
careful consideration of the Complaint, the Amended
Complaint, ECF No. 19, and the parties' arguments for and
against dismissal, the court grants the motion to dismiss in
part because Plaintiff does not refute Defendants'
argument that she failed to exhaust her administrative
remedies under the federal anti-discrimination statutes, and
the time has expired for her to do so. The court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(3) over any non-federal claims and remands those
claims to D.C. Superior Court. See Shekoyan v.
Sibley Int'l, 409 F.3d 414, 424, 366 U.S.App.D.C.
144 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (stating that when, as here, the federal
claims " are dismissed before trial," it is
preferable for the court to decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the non-federal claims) (quoting
Carnegie--Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350
n.7, 108 S.Ct. 614, 98 L.Ed.2d 720 (1988) (internal quotation
marks omitted)); see also Myers v. Cent. Florida
Investments, Inc., 592 F.3d 1201, 1226 (11th Cir. 2010)
(" [F]ederal district courts in removal cases must
remand, rather than dismiss, state claims over which they
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction." ).
alleges that in her former position with the New Orleans
Saints (" Saints" ), she " was . . .
experienced in business development, as well as sales and
marketing," and she was " [w]ell-respected"
and " [h]ighly regarded in a 5-state region" for
her " deep knowledge of sales and [accomplished]
marketing efforts." Compl. at 27. Plaintiff "
established innovative concepts for overall new business
relationships, as well as captured the retention of former
clients." Id. at 28. At an unspecified time,
Plaintiff became a victim of domestic violence and was fired
from her position with the Saints. Plaintiff's abusive
circumstances " caused her to flee," which "
landed Plaintiff in this jurisdiction, and ensured the safety
of [her] children." Id. at 23. Upon discovering
" Plaintiff's personal emotional cries for
help," hiring officials with the NFL and the Team
allegedly " shun[ned]" Plaintiff for more than 9,
nearly 10 years," and they have been "
nonresponsive to [Plaintiff's] numerous job application
submissions" for marketing, sales, and business
development positions. Id.
to Plaintiff " the Defendants demonstrated animosity
towards Domestic Violence victims and women who were African
American, resulting in the fatal subversion of
Plaintiff's career by their refusing to rid their bitter,
harsh and cruel, resentment and animosity." Id.
at 28. Consequently, " none of the League affiliates, or
the League hired Plaintiff in any similar capacity, or that
of an equal position or greater due to the tainted image of
being a Domestic Violence victim." Id.
pleading captioned " Amended Complaint," which
Plaintiff filed " to clarify the [original]
allegations," Am. Compl. at 2, Plaintiff alleges that
beginning in 2005, she " telephoned, faxed or mailed
hard copies of [her] resumes to the NFL's HR Department,
Scott Shepherd and Dan Snyder's office. This extended
until 2008, [when] Plaintiff began contacting the Defendants
via email." Id. at 5-6. Based on counts two
through twenty of the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff formally
applied for positions between 2009 and 2014. Id. at
13-16. Plaintiff admits that the Team did hire her but "
as an 'under-class.'" Id. at 2.
Plaintiff, however, " chose to quit . . . after the
second Sunday activity on September 9, 2011, when she finally
realized that . . . Shepherd would never hire her from an
'under-class' who had been hired as FedEx Field
servants, and therefore were classified as FedEx Field
'Sunday only' or 'the game days only
employees.'" Id. Plaintiff explains that
" she made a choice to resign" because she was not
earning a livable wage and could not afford the costs of
commuting by taxi to FedEx Field. Id. at 2-3.
addition to Title VII, plaintiff invokes in the Amended
Complaint the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967
(" ADEA" ), because she " pursued employment
that began over the age of 40, and continued until she was
nearly 55, in 2014," and the Americans with Disabilities
Act (" ADA" ), because " she is a victim of
Domestic Violence." Id. at 6.
Supreme Court's decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal direct federal
trial courts to focus on the factual content of a complaint
when deciding whether a claim is sufficiently stated to
withstand a motion to dismiss brought under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). A complaint must contain "
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)
(internal quotation marks omitted)). A claim is facially
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."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). A complaint that pleads factual allegations
that are " merely consistent with a defendant's
liability . . . stops short of the line between possibility
and plausibility of entitlement to relief."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557) (internal quotation marks omitted). Although
the factual allegations need not be " detailed,"
the Federal Rules demand more than " an unadorned,
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
" Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
turning to the merits, the court addresses whether it will
consider the allegations set forth in Plaintiff's "
Amended Complaint," which Defendants have asked the
court to strike. See Mot. to Strike Pl.'s Am.
Compl., ECF No. 20. When a pro se plaintiff files
" multiple submissions in opposition to [a] motion to
dismiss, the district court should endeavor to read the
party's filings together and as a whole."
Fennell v. AARP, 770 F.Supp.2d 118, 121 (D.D.C.
2011) (citing Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d
545, 548, 338 U.S.App.D.C. 265 (D.C. Cir. 1999)). In
addition, " pleadings must be construed so as to do
justice." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e). Because Plaintiff submitted
the " Amended Complaint" " to clarify"
the allegations in the original complaint, Am. Compl. at 2,
the court is compelled to consider those pleadings together
as the operative complaint. SeeRichardson,
193 F.3d at 548 (holding that ...