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Bhatti v. SSM Health Care of Oklahoma Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

January 6, 2020

EDWIN BHATTI, Plaintiff,



         This action arises out of plaintiff Edwin Bhatti's employment with defendant SSM Health Care of Oklahoma, Inc., d/b/a Saint Anthony Hospital.

         Defendant moves under Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., for partial dismissal of the complaint. Doc. no. 11. Defendant seeks dismissal of claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (OADA).[1] Defendant argues that in light of the last date of discrimination identified by plaintiff on his charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), plaintiff waited too long to file that charge so that the challenged claims should be dismissed as untimely. Plaintiff responds, objecting to dismissal. Doc. no. 17. Defendant filed a reply brief. Doc. no. 18.

         For the reasons stated below, the motion will be denied.


         The inquiry under Rule 12(b)(6) is whether the complaint contains enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir., 2007), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must nudge his claims across the line from conceivable to plausible. Id. The mere metaphysical possibility that some plaintiff could prove some set of facts in support of the pleaded claims is insufficient; the complaint must give the court reason to believe that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims. Ridge at Red Hawk, 493 F.3d at 1177.

         In conducting its review, the court assumes the truth of the plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations and views them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Id. Pleadings that are no more than legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth; while legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.662, 664 (2009). When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. The court will disregard mere “labels and conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action” to determine if what remains meets the standard of plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will … be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.

         Timing Requirements

         Because Oklahoma is a deferral state, Title VII requires claimants to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights Enforcement (OCRE) within 300 days of the alleged unlawful practice. Thuc Trans Sonic Indus. Servs., Inc., 767 F.Supp.2d 1217, 1224 n.1 (W.D. Okla. 2011). The same time limit applies to claims brought under the ADA and the ADEA. Chaney v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2015 WL 6692108 at *2 (W.D. Okla. Nov. 3, 2015) (ADA); Ingram v. Pre-Paid Legal Servs., Inc., 4 F.Supp.2d 1303, 1308 (E.D. Okla. May 15, 1998) (ADEA). For an OADA claim, a charge must be filed with the OCRE within 180 days of the alleged unlawful practice. 25 O.S.Supp. 2013 §1350(B).

         Pertinent Allegations

         The complaint alleges that “Mr. Bhatti has complied with all statutory prerequisites to filing this action.” Doc. no. 1, ¶ 25. This allegation is conclusory and is disregarded for present purposes. The complaint refers to the charge of discrimination which plaintiff filed with the EEOC, and it refers to the right to sue letter issued by the EEOC. Id., ¶¶26-27. The complaint, however, alleges nothing about when the EEOC charge was filed or its timeliness in relation to the last date of alleged discrimination.

         The EEOC Charge

         At this stage, the court may go outside the pleadings to consider documents which are referenced in the complaint and central to it, without converting the motion to one for summary judgment. Accordingly, the court is permitted to consider the EEOC charge filed by Mr. Bhatti in his effort to exhaust his administrative remedies. That charge has been submitted by the defendant. Doc. no. 11-1.

         The EEOC charge shows March 23, 2018 as the latest date on which plaintiff claims discrimination took place. The EEOC charge also shows that it was signed by Mr. Bhatti on March 29, 2019.[2] Given these dates, the charge shows that it was not filed with the ...

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