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Battle v. Master Security Co. LLC

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 9, 2018

KEITH BATTLE, Plaintiff,
v.
MASTER SECURITY COMPANY, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's second amended complaint. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motion.

         I. Background

         After being terminated from his position as a security guard in January 2015, pro se plaintiff Keith Battle filed suit against his former employer, Master Security Company, LLC. Finding that Battle's initial complaint-which enumerated seven counts without description- did not give Master Security fair notice of the content of his claims, the Court granted him leave to file an amended complaint.

         Battle's second amended complaint (ECF No. 14) provides a paragraph-long explanation of each claim and attaches several exhibits. It alleges as follows:

(1) Wrongful Termination
(2) Retaliation
(3) Equal Pay Act
(4) Deceived and Willfully Obstructed from Competing [sic] Employment
(5) Took Personnel Action Because of Exercise of Complaint and Grievance 2d Am. Compl. at 1.[1]

         Master Security has moved to dismiss this case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the ground that the second amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.[2]

         II. Legal Standards

         The Court will grant a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if the allegations in the complaint do not “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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 57 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible if the complaint provides “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. While the court “must take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, ” legal conclusions “couched as . . . factual allegation[s]” do not warrant the same deference. Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Generally, the Court cannot consider matters outside the pleadings in deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, but it may consider “documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint.” Ward v. District of Columbia Dep't of Youth Rehab. Servs., 768 F.Supp.2d 117, 119 (D.D.C. 2011).

         “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). Further, a pro se plaintiff's pleadings must be “considered in toto” to determine whether they “set out allegations ...


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