Monday, March 10, 2008

E.D. Va. Cites Twombly in Rejecting Motion to Dismiss in Employment Discrimination Case

Per Chappell v. Virginia State University, Slip Copy, 2008 WL 611298 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2008):

Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “[A] complaint meets Rule 8's requirements if, in light of the nature of the action, the complaint sufficiently alleges each element of the cause of action so as to inform the opposing party of the claim and its general basis.” Chao v. Rivendell Woods, Inc., 415 F.3d 342, 348 (4th Cir.2005); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002) (finding that Petitioner's employment discrimination complaint was sufficient because it “alleged that he had been terminated on account of his national origin” and “detailed the events leading to his termination, provided relevant dates, and included the ages and nationalities of at least some of the relevant persons involved with his termination”).

Here, Chappell's First Amended Complaint alleges that she was not re-hired based on her race. Chappell outlines the basic facts surrounding her final contract, VSU's failure to re-hire her as a professor, and purported statements that, if true, could establish a racially discriminatory basis for her non-hiring. Despite VSU's protestations, “an employment discrimination plaintiff need not plead a prima facie case of discrimination” to survive a Rule 12 motion. Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 515. Chappell has provided notice of her “claim and its general basis” sufficient to defeat the instant motion.


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