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4th Circuit Remands ADEA Case For Discovery

Published by on January 9, 2009

In Ray vs. Amelia County Sheriff’s Office, the Fourth Circuit decided in an unpublished opinion dated December 9, 2008, that an ADEA claim should not have been dismissed on a 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss.  A copy of the Court’s opinion is here.  More after the break. The plaintiff in this case — who was an […]

In Ray vs. Amelia County Sheriff’s Office, the Fourth Circuit decided in an unpublished opinion dated December 9, 2008, that an ADEA claim should not have been dismissed on a 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss.  A copy of the Court’s opinion is here.  More after the break.

The plaintiff in this case — who was an unrepresented pro se plaintiff — filed an age discrimination lawsuit against her former employer.  The district court dismissed the complaint because it believed that the plaintiff’s own complaint produced a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the defendant’s termination of her employment that rebutted her prima facie case, while failing to demonstrate that the reasons stated in her own complaint were a pretext for discrimination.  The Court of Appeals pointed out that the plaintiff “was not required to plead specific facts establishing a prima facie case of discrimination in her complaint, let alone to plead facts showing that the non-discriminatory reason for termination suggested by her own complaint was pretextual.” 

Although there are significant defects in complaints that will justify dismissal at the initial stage of the case, this decision is a reminder that in federal court a plaintiff is only required to give the defendant fair notice of the nature and grounds upon which a claim rests.  The factual allegations must state a claim to relief that is plausible, not merely speculative.

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