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Boyd v. Keystone Construction

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

July 20, 2015

NORETTA F. BOYD, Plaintiff,
v.
KEYSTONE CONSTRUCTION, et al., Defendants.

ENTRY ON MOTION TO DISMISS SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Defendant Keystone Construction Corporation's ("Keystone") motion to dismiss the second amended complaint (Dkt. No. 68). The Court, being duly advised, GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the motion for the reasons set forth below.

I. STANDARD

Keystone seeks dismissal of the second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). As the Court noted in its previous ruling, "[i]n order to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. And while we draw all reasonable inferences and facts in favor of the nonmovant, we need not accept as true any legal assertions or recital of the elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements." Vesely v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d 661, 664-65 (7th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). That said, however, and critical to the Court's review of the instant motion, "the pleading standards for pro se plaintiffs are considerably relaxed." Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013). This means that complaints drafted by pro se litigants are construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011). Further,

[i]n conducting our review, we must consider not only the complaint itself, but also documents attached to the complaint, documents that are critical to the complaint and referred to in it, and information that is subject to proper judicial notice. We also must consider additional facts set forth in [the plaintiff's]... briefs, so long as those facts are consistent with the pleadings.

Phillips v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 714 F.3d 1017, 1019-20 (7th Cir. 2013) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, in considering the instant motion, the Court has considered the facts alleged by Boyd in the briefs she filed in opposition to it in addition to the facts alleged in her second amended complaint.

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Noretta F. Boyd filed this case against Keystone[1] alleging a variety of claims. Keystone moved to dismiss Boyd's complaint against it in its entirety. That motion was granted; however, the Court gave Boyd the opportunity to file an amended complaint if she believed she could correct the deficiencies that resulted in the dismissal of her original complaint. Boyd timely filed an amended complaint; she later moved to file a second amended complaint to correct a few minor errors in the first amended complaint. That motion was granted and her second amended complaint was filed; Keystone has now moved to dismiss once again.

III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The facts as alleged by Boyd are as follow.

On September 27, 2012, Keystone offered Boyd the position of "Project Manager- Wishard Hospital Electrical Services." While Boyd was an employee of Keystone, her assignment was to manage six bid packages on a large construction site-the building of a new hospital-for a contractor on the project, Jacobs Engineering Consulting ("Jacobs"). Her job responsibilities required her to interact with contractors with whom she had had issues in the past or who harbored ill-will toward her because she had recently sued a local contractor for nonpayment. At the time Boyd was hired, the "New Wishard Project, " as Boyd refers to it, was "approximately 70% fiscally complete." Dkt. 66, Second Amended Complaint at ¶ 13.

On November 28, 2012, Boyd met with Paul Okeson, a Keystone executive, and expressed her concern "with the level of inconsistencies and over charges she was finding on entitlement alone and how to balance those items with the field work of those contractors at this stage of the Project." Id. at ¶ 16. The following day, she spoke with Lynn Wall, Keystone's Vice President of Construction,

about the cost proposals, the inconsistencies, the requirement to review those proposals and her familiarity with those contractors from previous projects, the circumstances made her recent inception into the project extremely adversarial, as this process was not being practice[d] by any of the other project managers. Mr. Wall noted that she had been "Dropped off into Vietnam without a parachute, " on this project.

Id. at ¶ 19. Boyd further alleges that

During this time [she] would experience what one would consider "hazing" which included mobbing, bullying, ridicule, invasion of privacy, gas lighting, removal of files and work both on her desk and computer desktop, rummaging through her belongings, harassment to and from work, and even going between buildings to meetings. [Boyd] would be reprimanded for something not done right (even if the process had changed multiple times) and an urgency to "sign off" on cost events under her charge.

Id. at ¶ 21.

On March 15, 2013, Boyd met with a project executive[2]and discussed the following:

a) Concerns with cost proposals that were inconsistent or inflated[;]
b) Immediate manager's... selective micro management of [Boyd's] work[;]
c) The proposals [sic] level of review, passing the "stink" test[;]
d) They were glad [Boyd] was there and would need everyone until the ...

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