United States District Court, D. North Dakota
ORDER RE § 1915(E)(2) SCREENING AND GRANTING
PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
R. Hochhalter, Magistrate Judge United States District Court
has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
in the above-captioned case. She has also filed notice of her
consent to the Magistrate Judge's exercise of
jurisdiction. The matter is now before the court for
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) in advance
of the court ordering service of process.
initiated this action pro se in June 2019 with the submission
of a “form complaint.” She seeks to recover back
pay and overtime to which she asserts an entitlement.
Specifically, she alleges:
The grounds for filing this case in Federal Court are race
and sex (gender discrimination of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of
1963. These violations occurred at Stanley Hotel a subsidiary
of Target Logistics Management 913 4th St SW, Stanley ND
58784. The violation occurred between August 2013-September
Hourly Pay plus Overtime was not equal to what others were
paid, men and non-African Americans.
(Doc. No. 4).
STANDARDS GOVERNING § 1915(e)(2)
1915(e)(2) provides that, notwithstanding financial
eligibility, “the court shall dismiss the case at any
time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . (i)
is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a)(2) requires a claim for relief contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief[.]” To meet this standard, a
complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007);
cf. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 515
(2002) (“[T]he Federal Rules do not contain a
heightened pleading standard for employment discrimination
suits.”). In applying the standard, the court must
accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true.
Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594
(8th Cir. 2009) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009)). Pro se complaints must be liberally
construed. Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th
Cir. 2004). However, in construing a pro se complaint, the
court “will not supply additional facts, nor . . .
construct a legal theory for plaintiff that assumes facts
that have not been pleaded.” Id. (citing
Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th Cir.
Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) prohibits wage
discrimination “between employees on the basis of
sex ... for equal work on jobs the performance of
which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and
which are performed under similar working conditions.”
29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1). It does not speak to wage
discrimination on the basis of race. On the other hand, Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does, stating in relevant
part that “[i]t shall be an unlawful employment
practice for an employer . . . to discriminate against any
individual with respect to his compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin.” 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-2(a). Although
plaintiff makes no explicit mention of Title VII in her
complaint, she is arguably endeavoring to assert claims
pursuant to the EPA and Title VII given that she lists both
sex and race discrimination as the basis for this court's
exercise of jurisdiction and claims that she has did not get
the same pay as men and non-African Americans.
of the statutory bases for plaintiff's claims, she has
failed to satisfy the most basic of pleading requirements.
Her complaint is conspicuously devoid of any description of
her and others' job requirements much less assert there
was disparity between her wages and the wages others earned
performing equal work. Rather, she asserts simply that she
earned less than men and non-African Americans. Absent more,
such a conclusory allegation does not constitute the basis
for cognizable wage discrimination claim under either the EPA
or Title VII.
court cannot at this point conclude with absolute certainty
that the deficiencies in plaintiffs' complaint cannot be
cured by amendment. Given that plaintiff is proceeding
pro se, the court shall provide her with an
opportunity to file an amended complaint that addresses these