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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
PALISADES MEDICAL CENTER,
DONNA CAHILL, YVONNE GERACI,
ROBERT BULTER, ALBERT VERONA
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.:
Civ. No. 12-5508 (WJM)
This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ motion to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Pro se Plaintiff Sharon Belton opposes
the motion. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ motion is GRANTED.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND1
Plaintiff appears to be a former employee of Palisades Medical Center.
Plaintiff’s Complaint2 explicitly alleges the following: “All employee[s] are not
treated the same. I was accused of using profanity in the workplace by security
guard which [is] not true. I was terminated, there’s a co-worker that’s friend[s]
with [the] supervisor, [who] curses people and other co-worker[s] out all the time,
1 As this is a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the following version of events assumes Plaintiff’s allegations in the
Complaint are true.
2 The Court notes that Plaintiff has attached several mostly-illegible letters to her Complaint.
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hit[s] other co-worker[s] in the head, call[s] nurses bitch. She’s not fired so why
am I.” (Compl. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff further claims that this complained of conduct is
discriminatory because: “I reported an incident that happened 10-20-2011 in
writing where I was told to kiss her ass. I was ignored. Nothing was done.
Supervisor is friend[s] with girl’s mother. [They’re] both supervision and they
don’t treat other co-workers fair.” (Id. at ¶ 10.)
Based on these limited factual allegations, on September 4, 2012, Plaintiff
commenced this action in District Court, alleging that she suffered racial and
national origin discrimination in the course of her employment, in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-
2, 3. (Id. at ¶ 10.) In response, Defendants filed the present motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a
complaint if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated.
Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must take all allegations in the complaint as
true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin,
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422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts
Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).
Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, “a
plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitlement to relief’ requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiff’s right to relief
above a speculative level, such that it is “plausible on its face.” See id. at 570; see
also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). A claim
has “facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Reading the Complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Complaint
appears to assert claims for (1) discrimination and (2) retaliation under Title VII.
Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint in its entirety. The Court finds
that the motion to dismiss should be granted.
First, Plaintiff has failed to plead a Title VII discrimination claim. Under
Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge
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any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to
his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-
2(a)(1). To state a prima facie case for discrimination under Title VII, a plaintiff
must show that: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she is qualified for the
position; (3) she suffered an adverse employment action despite being qualified;
and (4) the action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of
unlawful discrimination, such as when non-members of the protected class are
treated more favorably than the plaintiff. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411
U.S. 792, 802 (1973); see also Jackson v. Temple Univ. Hosp., Inc., 501 Fed.Appx.
120 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Makky v. Chertoff, 541 F.3d 205, 214 (3d Cir. 2008)).
In this case, Plaintiff fails to allege any specific facts that would support a
prima facie Title VII discrimination claim. Plaintiff does not allege that she was a
member of a protected class. She does not allege any facts showing that she was
qualified for her position. She does not allege that non-members of a protected
class were treated more favorably. Finally, Plaintiff does not allege any facts that
would give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination. She makes no
allegations whatsoever about Defendants Cahill, Geraci, Butler, or Verona.
Second, Plaintiff has failed to plead a Title VII retaliation claim. Title VII
contains an anti-retaliation provision, which provides that it is “an unlawful
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employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees
. . . because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice.”
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). In order to establish a prima facie case of retaliation
under Title VII, a plaintiff must show: (1) that he engaged in a protected activity;
(2) that he suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) that there was a causal
connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action.
Sanchez v. SunGard Availability Servs. LP, 362 F. App’x 283, 287 (3d Cir. 2010).
In this case, Plaintiff wholly fails to allege that she engaged in a protected activity,
and fails to allege that there was any connection between a protected activity and
an adverse employment action.
In sum, Plaintiff fails to plead facts sufficient to raise her right to relief under
Title VII above a speculative level. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss
will be GRANTED. See Dunleavy v. New Jersey, Civ. No. 06-0554, 2007 WL
2793370, at *3 (D.N.J. Sept. 26, 2007) aff’d, 251 Fed.Appx. 80 (3d Cir. 2007)
(granting Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Title VII employment
discrimination claim where plaintiff failed to make any allegations indicating that
he suffered an adverse employment action based on his membership in one of the
protected classes set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e.)
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For the reasons stated above, Defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion is
GRANTED and Plaintiffs’ claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff will have 30 days to file an Amended Complaint. An appropriate order
/s/ William J. Martini
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Date: June 4, 2013