Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Graham v. Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

December 12, 2019

DEANN GRAHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
COCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          DAMON R. LEICHTY JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Ms. DeAnn Graham filed a pro se complaint against her former employer, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc., alleging claims of discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Coca-Cola has moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), claiming Ms. Graham's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and falls short of the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 and 10. In the alternative, Coca-Cola requests a more definite statement. The court now denies both motions.

         BACKGROUND

         Accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true and taking all reasonable inferences in Ms. Graham's favor, the following facts emerge. Ms. Graham began working at Coca-Cola in May 2016 as a merchandiser. ECF 1-1 at 7. She performed well in her position. She never received any oral or written warnings, completed her required trainings, and generally received excellent praise from her immediate supervisor, Aaron Ridge. Id.

         In January 2018, Ms. Graham began to complain about a decrease in her pay rate. Id. at 8. She told her supervisor, Aaron Ridge, that she was unable to make ends meet with the new pay rate. Id. Despite the pay decrease, Ms. Graham continued with the company. Around this time, William Leinart joined management. Id. Ms. Graham complains that she began to experience retaliation after complaining of her pay rate and that it escalated after Mr. Leinart arrived at Coca-Cola. Id.

         On March 7, 2018, Ms. Graham had a meeting with several members of management, including Mr. Ridge. Id. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss racially insensitive remarks made by Mr. Ridge about African-Americans at the company. Id.

         Three days after her meeting with management, March 10, 2018, Ms. Graham was informed that she was being terminated for insubordination. Id. Ms. Graham was told that she had not completed her mandatory safety class. Id. at 7. In response, Ms. Graham informed Coca-Cola that she had completed her most recent safety class, due March 1, 2018 (id. at 10) and did not have another class due until March 31, 2018 (id. at 7).

         Ms. Graham believed that her termination was retaliation for reporting Mr. Ridge's comments. Id. at 8. She timely filed a charge with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (id. at 2-3) alleging retaliation and discrimination on the basis of her sex, race, and age (id.). Ms. Graham received her right-to-sue letter from the EEOC on February 23, 2019. ECF 1 at 1. Ms. Graham then filed this timely complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation. ECF 1-1.

         STANDARD

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Reynolds v. CB Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146 (7th Cir. 2010). A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The statement must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face and raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A plaintiff's claim must be plausible, not probable. Indep. Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012). Evaluating whether a claim is sufficiently plausible to survive a motion to dismiss is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Of course, because Ms. Graham is a pro se plaintiff, the court must liberally construe her complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         DISCUSSION

         A. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10

         Coca-Cola argues that Ms. Graham's complaint must be dismissed because it does not satisfy Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10. Coca-Cola objects to the “long, rambling” nature of Ms. Graham's complaint and argues that it fails to satisfy the “short and plain statement” requirement of Rule 8(a) and the numbered paragraph requirement of Rule 10(b).

         To satisfy Rule 8, “a complaint must provide a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, which is sufficient to provide the defendant with fair notice of the claim and its basis.” Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d 609, 622 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal quotations omitted). Rule 10(b) requires a party to state its claims or defenses in numbered paragraphs, “each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances.” These rules require plaintiffs to “make their pleadings straightforward, ” U.S. ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 378 (7th Cir. 2003), and drafted to “direct the defendant to the factual cause of the plaintiff's injury, ” McTigue v. City of Chicago, 60 F.3d 381, 382 (7th Cir. 1995); see also Stanard v. Nygren, 658 F.3d 792, 797 (7th Cir. 2011). ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.