United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
V. EAGEN STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is defendant Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling
Company's motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended
complaint (Dkt. # 22).
amended complaint, plaintiff Samantha Payne, a female,
alleges the following: on August 14, 2012, defendant, a
beverage bottling company, hired her. Dkt. # 21, at 2. On
January 31, 2015, plaintiff began working as an inventory
control supervisor at defendant's plant in Okmulgee,
Oklahoma (the plant); she held this position until defendant
terminated her on January 19, 2017. Id. at 2, 7. In
her capacity as the inventory control supervisor, she
reported directly to Brian Caldwell, the inventory control
manager. Id. at 2. Caldwell, in turn, reported
directly to the plant manager. Id.
until August 2016, Rick Randleman was the plant manager; he
had the power to hire and fire plaintiff and otherwise affect
the terms and conditions of her employment. Id.
While Randleman was the plant manager, plaintiff alleges, he
repeatedly stalked and attempted to have a romantic
relationship with her. Id. at 3. She claims that he:
insisted she join him for lunch “almost daily;”
sent her more than 5, 000 text messages (some of which were
sent outside of work hours); drove past her home for
“no reason, ” and “often” touched her
and attempted to kiss her. Id.
to plaintiff, she repeatedly rebuffed his advances, while
attempting to remain friendly enough with him to protect her
job. Id. Randleman's behavior made plaintiff
very nervous and upset and created problems between her and
her husband. Id. She did not, however, report his
harassment to defendant because she feared doing so would
result in her termination. Id.
July, 2016, Randleman's wife approached the plant's
HR representative and demanded that defendant terminate
plaintiff because she suspected an ongoing relationship
between plaintiff and Randleman. Id. Mrs. Randleman
“caused such a scene” that the area human
resources manager, Nancy Cummings, had to step in to calm the
situation. Id. As a result of the incident, in
mid-August 2016, defendant transferred Randleman to its
plaint in Oklahoma City. Id. According to plaintiff,
after Randleman's transfer, he continued to harass and
pursue her with repeated phone calls and text messages.
Id. at 4. On one occasion, Randleman and plaintiff,
along with other employees of defendant, attended a funeral.
Id. The day after, plaintiff claims, Randleman
called her to tell her how “hot” she looked and
that he still missed her. Id.
addition, plaintiff alleges that, on November 16, 2016, she
and some of her coworkers attended a coworker's funeral.
Id. at 5. At the funeral's conclusion, according
to plaintiff, Ray Moore, production manager at the plant,
commented to some hourly employees about their attire, and
his comment embarrassed and upset them. Id. This
comment was reported to Caldwell and Heather Johnson (the
plant manager who replaced Randleman), and Moore was asked to
apologize to the hourly employees, but was not disciplined in
any other fashion. Id.
November 18, 2016, several transport drivers for defendant
reported to plaintiff that Kevin Ward, transport manager for
the plant, was making fun of Caldwell in front of hourly
employees in the break room. Id. On November 21,
2016, plaintiff reported this to Johnson, but defendant did
not counsel or discipline Ward about the incident.
January 4, 2017, Caldwell sent plaintiff a text asking her to
meet in Johnson's office. Id. at 7. During the
meeting, Caldwell and Johnson informed plaintiff they had
learned that, on December 31, 2017, she stated, in front of
hourly employees, that Morrow and Ward-whom defendant had
recently transferred-had “gotten what they
deserve.” Id. Johnson then advised plaintiff
that she would be getting a corrective action in her file for
discussing employee performance in front of hourly employees.
January 19, 2017, Johnson and Caldwell again met with
plaintiff. Id. They told her that they were informed
that she was discussing her corrective action with hourly
employees. Id. Plaintiff denied this but admitted
telling her husband (who is a driver for defendant) about her
corrective action. Id. Johnson and Caldwell replied
that the situation “had nothing to do” with her
husband and that they did not believe her denial. They then
terminated plaintiff; she did not receive any termination
2, 2017, plaintiff submitted an intake questionnaire to the
EEOC stating, inter alia, that the bases for her
claim of employment discrimination were sex and retaliation.
Id. at 13. On September 26, 2017, plaintiff filed
her complaint in Tulsa County District Court, State of
Oklahoma. Dkt. # 2-1. On October 17, 2017, defendant removed
this case to this Court, which, on December 21, 2017,
dismissed plaintiff's complaint without prejudice for
failure to state a claim. Dkt. # 2; Dkt. # 18. On January 12,
2018, plaintiff filed her amended complaint (Dkt. # 21). It
alleges claims for: sexual discrimination and hostile work
environment based on Randleman's conduct (counts one and
two), retaliation based on Caldwell's conduct (count
three), and sexual discrimination in the termination of her
employment (count four). Defendant filed a motion to dismiss
plaintiff's amended complaint (Dkt. # 22). In response to
defendant's motion, plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed
her claim for retaliation (count three). Dkt. # 24, at 1.
Accordingly, plaintiff's claim for retaliation (count
three) is dismissed, and defendant's
motion to dismiss (Dkt. # 22) is granted as
to this count.
Standard of Review
considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must determine whether the
claimant has stated a claim upon which relief may be granted.
A motion to dismiss is properly granted when a complaint
provides no “more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint must contain enough
“facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face” and the factual allegations “must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (citations omitted). “Once a
claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by
showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in
the complaint.” Id. at 562. Although decided
within an antitrust context, Twombly
“expounded the pleading standard for all civil
actions.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 683
(2009). For the purpose of making the dismissal
determination, a court must accept all the well-pleaded
allegations of the complaint as true, even if doubtful in
fact, and must construe the allegations in the light most
favorable to a claimant. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555;