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Archer v. CSX Transportation Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

April 17, 2018

LINNIE LOU ARCHER, Plaintiff,
v.
CSX TRANSPORTATION CORPORATION, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant CSX Transportation Corporation's (“CSX”) Motion to Dismiss. [Filing No. 20.] Ms. Archer alleges that CSX discriminated against her because of her gender and her disability. [Filing No. 7.] CSX seeks dismissal of Ms. Archer's disability discrimination and retaliation claims in her Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). CSX argues that the disability claims are newly asserted and fail to relate back to her original Complaint under Rule 15(c). CSX contends that because the claims do not relate back, they were filed more than 90 days after she received her right to sue letter, and are therefore time barred. For the reasons set forth below, CSX's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.

         I.

         Legal Standard

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a claim that does not state a right to relief. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint provide the defendant with “fair notice of what the … claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active Disposal Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th Cir. 2011). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss asks whether the complaint “contain[s] 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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The Court will not accept legal conclusions or conclusory allegations as sufficient to state a claim for relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree that rises above the speculation level.” Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This plausibility determination is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         II.

         Background

         A. EEOC Complaint

         On July 15, 2015, Ms. Archer filed a Charge of Discrimination (“Charge”) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging that she was terminated for a rule violation and that she was “held to different levels than males when it comes to disciplinary actions.”[1] [Filing No. 21-1 at 2.] Ms. Archer further claimed that males who were previously terminated were offered their jobs back. [Filing No. 21-1 at 2.] She also stated that she had an undisclosed disability covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and that her “disability is why [she] got suspended.” [Filing No. 21-1 at 2-3.] Ms. Archer's Charge concluded, “I believe I have been discriminated against because of my sex, female, and retaliated against in violation of Title VII … and because of my disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.” [Filing No. 21-1 at 3.]

         Ms. Archer received her Right to Sue Letter from the EEOC on July 26, 2017. [Filing No. 21-1 at 4.] Thus, to be timely, Ms. Archer had to file her lawsuit by October 24, 2017.

         B. Original Complaint

         On October 26, 2017, Ms. Archer, acting pro se, submitted a handwritten Complaint against CSX and several CSX employees. [Filing No. 1.] Ms. Archer alleged that she was discriminated against because she is “a women [sic].” [Filing No. 1 at 2.] On August 13, 2012, she claims that she was called to testify against her conductor, but during the testimony, the “terminal Superintendent turned off the tape recorder and threaten[ed] to fire [her].” [Filing No. 1 at 2.]

         After reporting how she had been treated, Ms. Archer claims that she endured harassment from two male CSX managers. [Filing No. 1 at 4.] She alleges that this culminated in her termination by CSX. [Filing No. 1 at 4.] Ms. Archer alleges that three other women were fired as well, and notes that she was “1 of 7 girls out of 100's of men.” [Filing No. 1 at 4.]

         Ms. Archer also states that she has “[Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], [CSX] [has] violated my FMLA.” [Filing No. 1 at 4.] Ms. Archer further claims that she has applied for mental disability from CSX and noted that “[my] psychiatrist, Dr. John Gonzalez has several notes, where I have had bad periods while working for the Railroad where he has had to take me ...


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