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Mason v. State

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 14, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE (J.P. COURT), et al., Defendants.

          Stefanie D. Mason, Newark, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Joseph Clement Handlon, Deputy Attorney General Deputy, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants.




         Plaintiff Stefanie D. Mason ("Plaintiff) filed this action alleging employment discrimination by reason of a disability. (D.I. 2) She proceeds pro se. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Presently before the Court are Plaintiffs motion to reopen the case, [1] Defendants' motion to dismiss, and Plaintiffs request for counsel. (D.I. 10, 23, 28)


         The complaint and amended complaint allege employment discrimination by reason of disability and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the criminal code as set forth in Title 18 of the United States Code. (See D.I. 2, 11) Plaintiff alleges that the discriminatory acts occurred on January 1, 2012 and July 21, 2013. (See id.) Plaintiff states that on December 14, 2014, she filed charges with the Department of Labor of the State of Delaware Office of Anti-Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States ("EEOC"). (See id.) The original complaint states that the EEOC issued a notice of right to sue in December 2015. (See D.I. 2) Plaintiff commenced this action on December 22, 2015. Plaintiff filed two right to sue letters on August 15, 2017, for EEC Charge Nos. 530201503643 and 17C201400762. (D.I. 27)

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, the disbarment of two attorneys, and the termination of defendants' employment. In the complaint, plaintiff also requests counsel.[2] (See D.I. 2)


         Evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires the Court to accept as true all material allegations of the complaint. See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Utig, 114 F.3d 1410, 1420 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court may grant such a motion to dismiss only if, after "accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and viewing them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, plaintiff is not entitled to relief." Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 481-82 (3d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, U.S., 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not dismissed, however, for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 346.

         "To survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that 'raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).'" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. At bottom, "[t]he complaint must state enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [each] necessary element" of a plaintiffs claim. Wilkerson v. New Media Tech. Charter Sch. Inc., 522 F.3d 315, 321 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         The Court is not obligated to accept as true "bald assertions, " Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist, 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted), "unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences, " Schuylkill Energy Res., Inc. v. Pennsylvania Power & Ught Co., 113 F.3d 405, 417 (3d Cir. 1997), or allegations that are "self-evidently false." Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 69 (3d Cir. 1996). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, her pleading is liberally construed and her 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) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Defendants move to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) and 12(b)(6) on the grounds that the Complaint fails to state claims upon which relief may be granted (particularly the individual defendants), and Plaintiff ...

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