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Case 6:13-cv-00040-NKM Document 3 Filed 07/10/13 Page 1 of 3 Pageid#: 12

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FILED

IN THE UNITED STATES D ISTRICT COURT
FoR THE W ESTERN D ISTRICT OF V IRGINIA

LYNCHBURG D IVISION

JUL 1 p 2213

JUUA .DuD

BY;

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DEP

RK

JACQUELINE R . EUBANKS,

CASE N O. 6:13-cv-00040

Plaint?

M EM ORAN DUM OPm ION

LYNCHBURG CITY SCHOOLS,

Defendant.

JUDGEN ORMAN K . M OON

Pending before the court is Plaintiff s motion to proceed in forma pauperis (docket no.

1), which l will grant. However, for the following reasons, l will dism iss Plaintiff's complaint,

pursuant to 28 U.S.C. j l 915(e)(2)(B).

1.

A district court must evaluate a complaint filed in forma pauperis and dismiss it if it

determines that dsthe action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on

which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune

from such relief.'' 28 U.S.C. j 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); see also Eriline Co. S.A. v. Johnson, 440

F.3d 648, 656 (4th Cir. 2006) Cdgsectionl 1915 pennits district courts to independently assess the

merits of informapauperis complaints, and to exclude suits that have no arguable basis in law or

fact.'') (citation and inttrnal quotations omitted).

A pro se litigant's pleadings are ûsto be liberally construed.'' Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U .S.

89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted). Still, the facts alleged m ust tdraise a right to relief above the

speculative level,'' and the com plaint m ust contain dtenough facts to state a claim to relief that is

plausible on its face.'' Bell Atl. Corp. v.Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). This court

Case 6:13-cv-00040-NKM Document 3 Filed 07/10/13 Page 2 of 3 Pageid#: 13

m ay not dism iss an action under Section 1915 dsunless after accepting a1l w ell-pleaded

allegations in the plaintiff s com plaint as true and draw ing all reasonable factual inferences from

those facts in the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of

facts in support of his claim entitling him to relief.'' D e 'f onta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633

(4th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). ln this case, Plaintiff s July 2, 2013 complaint fails to state a

claim upon w hich relief can be granted.

ll.

ln her com plaint, Plaintiff states that she was previously employed as a substitute teacher

by t e y

h L nchburg City School system . 1 Plaintiff alleges that she w as discharged in late January,

2012, or

f her (tuse of religion.'' P1 's Com pl. 3.2 Plaintiff also states that she was discharged

.

because she was deem ed to be tcunqualified'' and ddunreliable,'' but contends that those allegations

are Skinaccurate.'' Id Plaintiff adds that ûsthe process for tennination requiregs) more than five

write-ups w ithin a school year,'' and appears to contend that, even if she had m ore than five

Sswrite-ups,'' they were spaced out over a period exceeding one year. Id at 4. Plaintiff has since

applied for a contract teaching position with the Lynchburg City School system , but states that

she has not been able to obtain a position. Id.

Plaintiff's allegations appear to suggest that the Lynchburg City School system took

action against her due to her dduse of religion'' in the classroom . How ever, such religious conduct

is not protected by either Title V l1, see, e.g., Grossman v. S. Shore Pub. Sch. D ist., 507 F.3d

1097 (7th Cir. 2007), or the First Amendment, see, e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 584

(1 987) (çiFamilies entrust public schools with the education of their children, but condition their

l Plaintiff states that she filed her initial complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
on or about June 20, 2012. Plaintiff s notice of her suit rights from the EEOC was m ailed on M ay 8, 2013.

2 Plaintiff alleges that John W omack a principal for Lynchburg City Schools, told her that he çûcannot have
(Plaintiftl using any form of religion . . . within the school.'' 16l

Case 6:13-cv-00040-NKM Document 3 Filed 07/10/13 Page 3 of 3 Pageid#: 14

trust on the understanding that the classroom w ill not purposely be used to advance religious

views that may conflict with the private beliefs of the student and his or her family.'').

Even if Plaintiff is attem pting to allege that she was unlaw fully discrim inated against

based on her religious beliefs,both when she w as term inated from her substitute teaching

position and when she was later rejected for contract teaching positions, her complaint still must

be dism issed. A plaintiff alleges a prim a facie case of discrim ination under Title V11 if she

pleads that: (i) she is a member of a protected group; (ii) her job performance was satisfactory

(or she was qualified for an open position for which she applied); (iii) she was subjected to an

adverse employment action', and (iv) similarly situated employees outside her class received

more favorable treatment (or she was rejected for the open position under circumstances giving

rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination). See Coleman v. Md. Court ofAppeals, 626 F.3d

187, l90 (4th Cir. 2010); Brown v. McL ean, 159 F.3d 898, 902 (4th Cir. 1998). Construing

Plaintiff's claim s liberally, Plaintiff has failed to allege facts to support the last of these four

required elem ents.

111.

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief m ay be

granted. Therefore, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. j 1 915(e)(2)(B), Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed.

The Clerk is directed to send certified copies of this m em orandum opinion and the

accom panying order to the Superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools, the Lynchburg City

Attorney, and to the Plaintiff.
#

Entered this / 0 .-day of July, 20l 3.

NO AN K. M OO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE