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Yates v. Delaware Psychiatric Center

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 11, 2018

JACKIE F. YATES, Plaintiff,
v.
DELAWARE PSYCHIATRIC CENTER/ DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, Defendant.

          Jackie F. Yates, Dover, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Kenisha L. Ringgold, Deputy Attorney General Deputy, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Jackie F. Yates ("Plaintiff") filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, alleging employment discrimination. (D.I. 2) She proceeds pro se and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint. (D.I. 25)

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was employed by the Delaware Psychiatric Center ("DPC") from January 2009 to August 30, 2012 as a certified nursing assistant. The Complaint alleges discriminatory acts of workplace harassment, suspension, and retaliation based upon national origin (African American) occurred on September 17, 2012. (See D.I. 2) The original complaint was dismissed upon Defendant's motion, and Plaintiff was given leave to amend. (See D.I. 18, 19).

         Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on April 21, 2017, and it alleges that she was dismissed from her position without due process. (D.I. 20) Attached to die amended complaint is Plaintiffs Charge of Discrimination, dated November 19, 2012. (Id. at 3) The Charge alleges discrimination based upon national origin and retaliation occurring from August 2, 2012 until August 30, 2012. (Id.) It claims that Plaintiff was harassed, suspended, and discharged due to her age and due to retaliation. (Id.) The charge refers to a June 1, 2012 incident when Plaintiffs supervisor refused to allow her to leave to pick up her child. (Id.) It alleges that Plaintiff was once called an "African monkey." (Id.) It alleges that beginning August 2, 2012, Plaintiff received threatening/harassing text messages regarding one of her patients and that die patient was a convicted criminal and would hurt Plaintiffs children if Plaintiff continued in a relationship with die patient. (Id.) Plaintiff was interviewed by her employer's investigator on August 8, 2012 regarding her relationship with the patient. (Id.) She was suspended on August 10, 2012, and dismissed on August 30, 2012 for violations of RI 35 - inappropriate relationship with a patient. (Id.) Plaintiff states that she was unaware of the rule and did not receive any oral or written warnings prior to her suspension and discharge. (Id.)

         The Amended Complaint contains a September 17, 2012 letter to Plaintiff from Delaware Health and Social Services describing the events that led to Plaintiffs termination. (Id. at 10) On August 10, 2012, Plaintiff was suspended for allegedly being involved in an inappropriate, personal relationship with a client residing in the DPC. (Id.) Investigation confirmed Plaintiffs inappropriate relationship with the client and revealed eight letters written by Plaintiff to the client and two money orders Plaintiff purchased and supplied to the client. (Id.) In addition, Plaintiff admitted to an "emotional relationship" with the client. (Id.) On August 30, 2012, Plaintiff was advised by letter that the DPC was recommending her dismissal for violation of DPC Policy RI 35, which reads in part that "staff do not participate in any behavior with patients that would be considered common to personal relationships." (Id.) Plaintiff did not request a pre-termination meeting to respond to the employment actions. (Id.) The September 17, 2012 letter advised Plaintiff she was being dismissed for the reasons cited in the August 30, 2012 letter. (Id.)

         On September 25, 2012 Plaintiff sent a letter to the Department of Labor regarding her dismissal; she also seems to have provided what appears to be a transcript of messages sent to Plaintiff by an unknown person. (Id. at 4-8) On November 12, 2012, the State of Delaware Department of Labor Division of Unemployment Insurance found that Plaintiff was discharged with just cause for violation of DPC rules when she engaged in a relationship with a patient that was deemed inappropriate. (Id. at 2) The Amended Complaint does not contain a prayer for relief, although Plaintiff sought compensatory damages in the original complaint.

         On April 23, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) and 12(b)(6). (D.I. 25) When Plaintiff did not respond to the motion, the Court entered a briefing schedule, requiring Plaintiff to respond to the motion on or before July 30, 2018. (D.I. 26) Plaintiff never filed a response to the motion.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         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. Litig., 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 be dismissed, ...


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