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Noel v. CARrite of Garden City

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 16, 2019

SHERWED ANN NOEL, Plaintiff,
v.
CARITE OF GARDEN CITY, LANG AUTOMOTIVE, INC., CARITE, INC., CARITE CORPORATE, LLC, KEITH LANG, and DANNY MCDONALD, Defendants.

          Stephanie Dawkins Davis, Mag. Judge

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS CARITE, INC. AND CARITE CORPORATE, LLC'S MOTION TO DISMISS [ECF NO. 9]

          Victoria A. Roberts, United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Sherwed Ann Noel brings this action against CARite of Garden City, Lang Automotive, Inc., CARite, Inc., CARite Corporate, LLC, Keith Lang, and Danny McDonald; Noel says Defendants violated her civil rights by creating and maintaining a racially hostile work environment. She also alleges wrongful termination and retaliation. Noel brings her claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”).

         CARite Inc. and CARite Corporate, LLC (collectively, “CARite”) move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6); CARite says Noel fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because she fails to plead facts sufficient to show that CARite was her employer; this is a prerequisite under each of Noel's causes of action.

         The Court agrees with CARite and GRANTS its motion to dismiss.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Noel, an African-American female, began working at CARite of Garden City in 2010 as a salesperson. Pursuant to the CARite Dealership Agreement, CARite granted Keith Lang and Lang Automotive, Inc. a license to use its brand name at Lang's dealership. Noel says that she was the only African-American working at CARite of Garden City at the times relevant to her claims.

         Noel says that Danny McDonald-one of her co-workers-repeatedly called her a nigger over the course of two years. Noel says that, on several occasions, McDonald called her a nigger in front of Keith Lang, their boss, and Kenneth Barnes, the dealership's general manager. Noel further alleges that although Lang and Barnes were aware of these derogatory remarks and received numerous complaints, they failed to discipline McDonald. Noel says that she made over five complaints to management during 2017 and 2018 until her termination on April 12, 2018.

         Noel says that her attorney served Lang with a letter on April 12, 2018; the letter notified Lang of Noel's intent to sue for violations of her civil rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Noel says that Lang fired her in response.

         Noel timely filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging gender and race discrimination, as well as retaliation. She received a right to sue letter.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests a complaint's legal sufficiency. Although the federal rules only require that a complaint contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” see Rule 8(a)(2), the statement of the claim must be plausible. Indeed, “[t]o survive a 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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible where the facts allow the Court to infer that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. This requires more than “bare assertions of legal conclusions”; a plaintiff must provide the “grounds” of his or her “entitlement to relief.” League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007).

         In deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept as true all well-pled factual allegations. Id. The Court “may consider the Complaint and any exhibits attached thereto, public records, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they are referred to in the Complaint and are central to the ...


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