United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael McShane United States District Judge
Samuel Gollah brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for
racial discrimination against Defendants Kevin Kreitman,
Sharon Chapman, Barbara Castillo, and the City of Millersburg
(“the City”). Plaintiff also brings a racial
discrimination claim under ORS 659A.030 against the City.
Defendants move to dismiss, asserting that Plaintiff's
amended complaint does not sufficiently allege facts to
sustain either claim. Because Plaintiff has stated facts
that, if true, entitle him to relief, Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss, ECF NO. 16, is DENIED.
was hired as a Development Coordinator by the City on June
26, 2017. Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 10, ECF No. 10.
Plaintiff was the only African American employed by the City.
Id. After the City hired him, Plaintiff learned that
Defendant Castillo, then City Recorder and Administrator,
asked Steve Hasson, then City Manager, if Hasson was going to
advise the mayor that “he had hired a black man.”
Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 11. This incident occurred in
front of at least three other individuals. Id.
Castillo retired shortly after making the comment.
October 2017, Hasson and six other employees signed a
memorandum in which they expressed no confidence in the
mayor. Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 12. Shortly after, four of
those six employees resigned, leaving Plaintiff as the only
remaining City administrator. Id. Defendant Chapman
was then hired as the Interim City Recorder and Castillo was
brought back to assist in administration. Pl.'s Am.
Compl. ¶ 13. Id. The City Council named
Defendant Kreitman as the Interim City Manager.
December 19, 2017, Kreitman asked Plaintiff to sign a
three-month extension of his introductory period with the
City. Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 14. Plaintiff's
introductory period was originally set to end on December 26,
2017. Pl.'s Resp. 7, ECF No. 20. The extension was
allegedly to allow time for evaluation and training.
Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 14.
called Plaintiff into his office on December 28, 2017.
Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 15. Kreitman informed Plaintiff
that Chapman had made several accusations of inappropriate
workplace behavior against Plaintiff. These accusations
included pounding on a table with his fist, yelling, using
the “n” word multiple times, and specifically
telling Chapman that he could not concentrate on his work
because of her hair and eyes. Id. Plaintiff had
never been advised of these alleged issues prior to the
December 28 meeting. Id. Kreitman gave Plaintiff a
choice to resign or be fired due to the accusations.
Id. When Plaintiff refused to resign-expressing
concern that the City had not conducted an
investigation-Plaintiff was terminated. Id.
his termination, Plaintiff requested his personnel file.
Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 16. The file contained documents
that accused Plaintiff of using the “n” word
repeatedly in the office and making comments to female
associates that were sexual in nature. Id. The file
also contained emails from Castillo and Chapman, dated
December 28, 2017, which Plaintiff alleges falsely accuse him
of being rude toward a customer. Id.
now brings racial discrimination claims against each
defendant, alleging that Kreitman, Chapman, and Castillo
“intentionally deprived Plaintiff of the same rights to
make and enforce contracts and enjoy all benefits,
privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual
relationship of his employment with the City in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1981.” Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶
20-21. Further, Plaintiff alleges that the City had an
“official policy or widespread or longstanding practice
or custom of discrimination against African Americans in
employment.” Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 22. Finally,
Plaintiff brings a state racial discrimination claim under
ORS 659A.030, alleging that the City “engaged in
unlawful employment practices by extending [Plaintiff]'s
introductory employment period, by falsely accusing him of
misconduct including using racial slurs, and by terminating
him because of his race.” Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶
survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter that
“state[s] a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible on its face when
the factual allegations allow the court to infer the
defendant's liability based on the alleged conduct.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). The
factual allegations must present more than “the mere
possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 678.
considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all
allegations of material fact as true and construe those facts
in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Burget v.
Lokelani Bernice Pauahi Bishop Trust, 200 F.3d 661, 663
(9th Cir. 2000). However, the court is “not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. If the
complaint is dismissed, leave to amend should be granted
unless “the pleading could not possibly be cured by the
allegation of other facts.” Doe v. United
States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995).
move to dismiss Plaintiffs' amended racial discrimination
claims, arguing that Plaintiff's amended complaint fails
to meet the heightened pleading standard imposed by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Defs.' Mot. 2, ECF No. 16. Defendants
set out the elements of a discrimination claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1981, mainly relying on Campbell v. Knife
River Corp., 783 F.Supp.2d 1137 (D. Or. 2011).
Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims must be
dismissed because Plaintiff has not alleged facts that
establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the
McDonnell Douglas framework against any of the
Defendants. Id. at 5-15; see alsoMcDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792,
802-803 (1973) (explaining a plaintiff's burden in
establishing a prima facie case of discrimination under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The cases ...