United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge
Juanita Coates has brought this action against defendant
Edgewood Management Corporation ("Edgewood"),
alleging that Edgewood discriminated against her in violation
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title
VII") and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act
("DCHRA") when it paid her a lower wage than her
male co-workers. Compl. ¶¶4, 7, 9. Edgewood has
moved to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) on the grounds that plaintiffs claims are
untimely under the applicable statutes of limitations.
Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 6] ("Def.'s
Mot."); Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Def.'s Mot.
[Dkt. # 6-1] ("Def.'s Mem.").
plaintiff did not file this lawsuit in a timely fashion as
required by Title VII and the DCHRA, defendant's motion
to dismiss will be granted.
was employed by defendant as a Maintenance Technician II from
July 10, 2013 through October 21, 2015. Compl. ¶ 3.
Plaintiffs starting rate of pay was $13.00 per hour, and by
the time her employment ended, "she was making $13.33
per hour." Id. Plaintiff claims that she
"came to know during her course of work that with her
certificates and expertise the only reason she earned the
rate she did was because of her gender, " and that if
"she had been male" her rate of pay "would
have been $22 an hour." Id. ¶ 4. She
alleges that she "made several attempts to bring up the
wage discrepancy, " in "both verbal and written
demands, " but that management did not address the
problem. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Instead, defendant
"refused to pay any part of the amount due and
owing" to her. Id. ¶ 6.
filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") regarding "this gender
based discrimination, " but on January 30, 2015,
plaintiffs claim was denied. Compl. ¶ 7. On December 13,
2016, plaintiff filed this lawsuit in the Superior Court of
the District of Columbia, Ex. 1 to Notice of Removal [Dkt.
#1-1], seeking damages totaling $107, 200. Compl. at 2. On
January 31, 2017, defendant removed the action to federal
court. Notice of Removal. On February 7, 2017, defendant
moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6),
contending that plaintiffs claims are untimely. Def.'s
Mot. Plaintiff opposed the motion on March 13, 2017, arguing
that the Court should toll the applicable statutes of
limitations under the doctrine of equitable estoppel. Mem. of
P. & A. in Opp. of Def.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 7]
("PL's Opp."). Defendant filed its reply on
March 22, 2017. Reply Br. in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. [Dkt. #
9] ("Def.'s Reply").
survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, 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 (2009), quotingBell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In Iqbal, the Supreme Court
reiterated the two principles underlying its decision in
Twombly: "First, the tenet that a court must
accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions, " and
"[s]econd, only a complaint that states a plausible
claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss."
Id. at 678-79.
is facially plausible when the pleaded factual content
"allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. at 678, citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a
'probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than
a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Id., quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556. A pleading must offer more than "labels and
conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, " id., quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and "[t]hreadbare
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.
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
Court is bound to construe a complaint liberally in the
plaintiffs favor, and it should grant the plaintiff "the
benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16
F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, the Court
need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if those
inferences are unsupported by facts alleged in the complaint,
nor must the Court accept plaintiff s legal conclusions.
See id.; see also Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235,
242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). In ruling upon a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim, a court may ordinarily consider
only "the facts alleged in the complaint, documents
attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the
complaint, and matters about which the Court may take
judicial notice." Gustave-Schmidt v. Chao, 226
F.Supp.2d 191, 196 (D.D.C. 2002), citing EEOC v. St.
Francis Xavier Parochial Sch, 117 F.3d 621,
624-25 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
Plaintiffs Title VII claim is time-barred, so the Court will
grant defendant's motion to dismiss this claim.
VII creates a cause of action for individuals who have been
subjected to various types of employment discrimination.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. Before bringing a
lawsuit, the complainant is required to file a charge with
the EEOC. See, e.g., Payne v. Salazar, 619 F.3d 56,
65 (D.C. Cir. 2010) ("Title VII '[c]omplainants must
timely exhaust the[ir] administrative remedies before
bringing their claims to court.'") (alteration in
original), quoting Bowden v. United States,
106 F.3d 433, 437 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
Whenever a charge is filed by or on behalf of a person
claiming to be aggrieved, . . . [the EEOC] shall make an
investigation thereof. . . If the Commission determines after
such investigation that there is not reasonable cause to
believe that the charge is true, it shall dismiss the charge
and promptly ...